Mesenchymal stem cells in tumor development: Emerging roles and concepts

 Abstract

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitor cells that participate in the structural and functional maintenance of connective tissues under normal homeostasis. They also act as trophic mediators during tissue repair, generating bioactive molecules that help in tissue regeneration following injury. MSCs serve comparable roles in cases of malignancy and are becoming increasingly appreciated as critical components of the tumor microenvironment. MSCs home to developing tumors with great affinity, where they exacerbate cancer cell proliferation, motility, invasion and metastasis, foster angiogenesis, promote tumor desmoplasia and suppress anti-tumor immune responses. These multifaceted roles emerge as a product of reciprocal interactions occurring between MSCs and cancer cells and serve to alter the tumor milieu, setting into motion a dynamic co-evolution of both tumor and stromal tissues that favors tumor progression. Here, we summarize our current knowledge about the involvement of MSCs in cancer pathogenesis and review accumulating evidence that have placed them at the center of the pro-malignant tumor stroma.

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Pages
220 - 230
doi
10.4161/cam.20875
Type
Review
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Mesenchymal stem cells in tumor development: Emerging roles and concepts