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J Tissue Eng. 2018 Dec 25;9:2041731418810093. doi: 10.1177/2041731418810093. eCollection 2018 Jan-Dec.

Mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles may promote breast cancer cell dormancy.

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Centre for Cell Engineering, Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology (IMCSB), The University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK.


Disseminated breast cancer cells have the capacity to metastasise to the bone marrow and reside in a dormant state within the mesenchymal stem cell niche. Research has focussed on paracrine signalling factors, such as soluble proteins, within the microenvironment. However, it is now clear extracellular vesicles secreted by resident mesenchymal stem cells into this microenvironment also play a key role in the initiation of dormancy. Dormancy encourages reduced cell proliferation and migration, while upregulating cell adhesion, thus retaining the cancer cells within the bone marrow microenvironment. Here, MCF7 breast cancer cells were treated with mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles, resulting in reduced migration in two-dimensional and three-dimensional culture, with reduced cell proliferation and enhanced adhesion, collectively supporting cancer cell dormancy.


Breast cancer; dormancy; extracellular vesicle; mesenchymal stem cell; three dimensional

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of conflicting interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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