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Int J Oncol. 2012 Jun;40(6):2022-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2012.1372. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Human amniotic membrane-derived epithelial stem cells display anticancer activity in BALB/c female nude mice bearing disseminated breast cancer xenografts.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Biochemistry and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk, Republic of Korea.


Breast cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors and the leading cause of mortality among women. In this study, we propose a human stem cell transplantation strategy, an important method for treating various cancers, as a potential breast cancer therapy. To this end, we used human amniotic membrane-derived epithelial stem cells (hAECs) as a cell source for performing human stem cell transplantation. hAECs have multipotent differentiation abilities and possess high proliferative potential. We transplanted hAECs into female BALB/c nude mice bearing tumors originating from MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Co-culturred hAECs and MDA-MB-231 cells at a ratio of 1:4 or 1:8 (tumor cells to stem cells) inhibited breast cancer cell growth by 67.29 and 67.33%, respectively. In the xenograft mouse model, tumor volumes were significantly decreased by 5-flurouracil (5-FU) treatment and two different ratios of hAECs (1:4 and 1:8) by 84.33, 73.88 and 56.89%, respectively. Treatment of nude mice with hAECs (1:4) produced remarkable antitumor effects without any side-effects (e.g., weight loss, death and bruising) compared to the mice that received only 5-FU treatment. Tumor progression was significantly reduced by hAEC treatment compared to the xenograft model. On the other hand, breast tissues (e.g., the epidermis, dermis and reticular layer) appeared to be well-maintained following treatment with hAECs. Taken together, these results provide strong evidence that hAECs can be used as a safe and effective cancer-targeting cytotherapy for treating breast cancer.

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