JOURNAL ARTICLE

Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells promote growth and angiogenesis of breast and prostate tumors

Ting Zhang, Yuk Wai Lee, Yun Feng Rui, Tin Yan Cheng, Xiao Hua Jiang, Gang Li
Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2013, 4 (3): 70
23763837

INTRODUCTION: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to migrate to tumor tissues. This behavior of MSCs has been exploited as a tumor-targeting strategy for cell-based cancer therapy. However, the effects of MSCs on tumor growth are controversial. This study was designed to determine the effect of MSCs on the growth of breast and prostate tumors.

METHODS: Bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) were isolated and characterized. Effects of BM-MSCs on tumor cell proliferation were analyzed in a co-culture system with mouse breast cancer cell 4T1 or human prostate cancer cell DU145. Tumor cells were injected into nude mice subcutaneously either alone or coupled with BM-MSCs. The expression of cell proliferation and angiogenesis-related proteins in tumor tissues were immunofluorescence analyzed. The angiogenic effect of BM-MSCs was detected using a tube formation assay. The effects of the crosstalk between tumor cells and BM-MSCs on expression of angiogenesis related markers were examined by immunofluorescence and real-time PCR.

RESULTS: Both co-culturing with mice BM-MSCs (mBM-MSCs) and treatment with mBM-MSC-conditioned medium enhanced the growth of 4T1 cells. Co-injection of 4T1 cells and mBM-MSCs into nude mice led to increased tumor size compared with injection of 4T1 cells alone. Similar experiments using DU145 cells and human BM-MSCs (hBM-MSCs) instead of 4T1 cells and mBM-MSCs obtained consistent results. Compared with tumors induced by injection of tumor cells alone, the blood vessel area was greater in tumors from co-injection of tumor cells with BM-MSCs, which correlated with decreased central tumor necrosis and increased tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, both conditioned medium from hBM-MSCs alone and co-cultures of hBM-MSCs with DU145 cells were able to promote tube formation ability of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. When hBM-MSCs are exposed to the DU145 cell environment, the expression of markers associated with neovascularization (macrophage inflammatory protein-2, vascular endothelial growth factor, transforming growth factor-beta and IL-6) was increased.

CONCLUSION: These results indicate that BM-MSCs promote tumor growth and suggest that the crosstalk between tumor cells and BM-MSCs increased the expression of pro-angiogenic factors, which may have induced tumor cell proliferation and angiogenesis thereby increasing solid tumor growth.

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