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One cell, multiple roles: contribution of mesenchymal stem cells to tumor development in tumor microenvironment

Xue Yang12, Jing Hou1, Zhipeng Han1, Ying Wang2, Chong Hao1, Lixin Wei1* and Yufang Shi2*

Author Affiliations

1 Tumor Immunology and Gene Therapy Center, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, the Second Military Medicial University, 225 Changhai Road, Shanghai 200438, China

2 Key Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM) & Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shanghai 200025, China

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Cell & Bioscience 2013, 3:5  doi:10.1186/2045-3701-3-5

Published: 21 January 2013


The discovery of tissue reparative and immunosuppressive abilities of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has drawn more attention to tumor microenvironment and its role in providing the soil for the tumor cell growth. MSCs are recruited to tumor which is referred as the never healing wound and altered by the inflammation environment, thereby helping to construct the tumor microenvironment. The environment orchestrated by MSCs and other factors can be associated with angiogenesis, immunosuppression, inhibition of apoptosis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), survival of cancer stem cells, which all contribute to tumor growth and progression. In this review, we will discuss how MSCs are recruited to the tumor microenvironment and what effects they have on tumor progression.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Tumor microenvironment; Tumor growth; Metastasis