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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2017 Jan;16(1):35-52. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2016.193. Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Tumour-associated mesenchymal stem/stromal cells: emerging therapeutic targets.

Shi Y1,2,3, Du L3, Lin L3,4, Wang Y3.

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The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University and Jiangsu Engineering Research Center for Tumor Immunotherapy, Institutes for Translational Medicine and Suzhou Key Laboratory of Tumor Microenvironment and Pathology, Soochow University, 199 Renai Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China.
Child Health Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA.
Key Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Health Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 320 Yueyang Road, Shanghai 200031, China.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 280 Chongqing Road, Shanghai 200025, China.


Mesenchymal stem cells, also known as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), exist in many tissues and are known to actively migrate to sites of tissue injury, where they participate in wound repair. Tumours can be considered "wounds that never heal" and, in response to cues from a tumour, MSCs are continuously recruited to and become integral components of the tumour microenvironment. Recently, it has become apparent that such tumour-associated MSCs (TA-MSCs) have an active role in tumour initiation, promotion, progression and metastasis. In this Review, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the pathogenic role of TA-MSCs in regulating the survival, proliferation, migration and drug resistance of tumour cells, as well as the influence of MSCs on the immune status of the tumour microenvironment. Moreover, we discuss therapeutic approaches that target TA-MSC upstream or downstream modulators or use MSCs as vehicles for the delivery of tumoricidal agents. It is anticipated that new insights into the functions of TA-MSCs will lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies against tumours.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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