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Clin Sarcoma Res. 2013 Jul 23;3(1):10. doi: 10.1186/2045-3329-3-10.

Mesenchymal stem cell transformation and sarcoma genesis.

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Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, Leiden, 2333ZA, the Netherlands.


MSCs are hypothesized to potentially give rise to sarcomas after transformation and therefore serve as a good model to study sarcomagenesis. Both spontaneous and induced transformation of MSCs have been reported, however, spontaneous transformation has only been convincingly shown in mouse MSCs while induced transformation has been demonstrated in both mouse and human MSCs. Transformed MSCs of both species can give rise to pleomorphic sarcomas after transplantation into mice, indicating the potential MSC origin of so-called non-translocation induced sarcomas. Comparison of expression profiles and differentiation capacities between MSCs and sarcoma cells further supports this. Deregulation of P53- Retinoblastoma-, PI3K-AKT-and MAPK pathways has been implicated in transformation of MSCs. MSCs have also been indicated as cell of origin in several types of chromosomal translocation associated sarcomas. In mouse models the generated sarcoma type depends on amongst others the tissue origin of the MSCs, the targeted pathways and genes and the differentiation commitment status of MSCs. While some insights are glowing, it is clear that more studies are needed to thoroughly understand the molecular mechanism of sarcomagenesis from MSCs and mechanisms determining the sarcoma type, which will potentially give directions for targeted therapies.

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