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Cellular Oncology

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 727–738 | Cite as

The therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells in lung cancer: benefits, risks and challenges

  • Lourdes Cortes-DericksEmail author
  • Domenico Galetta
Review

Abstract

Background

Lung cancer is one of the most challenging diseases to treat. In the past decades standard therapy including surgery, chemo- and radiation therapy, alone or in combination has not changed the high mortality rate and poor prognosis. In recent years, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as putative therapeutic tools due to their intrinsic tumor tropism, anti-tumor and immunoregulatory properties. MSCs release biomolecules that are thought to exert the same beneficial effects as their cellular counterparts and, as such, they may offer practical possibilities of using MSC-secreted products. Owing to their innate affinity to home to tumor sites, MSCs have also gained interest as selective vehicles for the delivery of anti-cancer agents. However, MSCs are also known to confer pro-oncogenic effects, rendering them into double-sword weapons against neoplastic diseases.

Conclusions

Here, we present published data on the cell- and secretome-based therapeutic competences of MSCs, as well as on their potential as engineered delivery vectors for the treatment of lung cancer. Despite the controversial role of MSCs in the context of lung cancer therapy, current findings support hopeful perspectives to harness the potential of MSC-based regimens that may augment current treatment modalities in lung cancer.

Keywords

Lung cancer Lung cancer therapy Mesenchymal stem cells Mesenchymal stem cell secretome Anti−/pro-tumorigenic effect 

Abbreviations

hBMMSCs

human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells

BMMSC-CM

bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium

hMSCs

human mesenchymal stem cells

hUCMSCs

human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells

hLMSC-CM

human lung mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium

hLcMSCs

human lung cancer-derived mesenchymal stem cells

hAMSCs

human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells

AMSCs

adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells

OSM

oncostatin M

elF4G1

eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4 gamma 1

elF4E

eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E

AKT

protein kinase B

PI3K

phosphoinositide 3-kinase

STAT3

signal transducer and activator of transcription 3

TOR

target of rapamycin

NSCLC

non-small cell lung cancer cell

LLC

Lewis lung cancer (mouse)

AC

adenocarcinoma TSA-Lu + luciferase-positive mouse adenocarcinoma cells.

AREG

amphiregulin

IL-6

interleukin 2

JAK2

Janus kinase 2

STAT3

signal transducer and activator of transcription protein 3

NK

natural killer cell

ROS

reactive oxygen species

EMT

epithelial-mesenchymal transition

IFN- γ

interferon gamma

AREG

amphiregulin

DOX

doxorubicin

IL-12

interleukin 12

IL-24

interleukin 24

IFN-β

interferon beta

IFN- γ

interferon gamma

PEDF

pigment epithelium-derived factor

PTX

paclitaxel

TRAIL

TNF-related apoptosis- inducing ligand

CDA/UPRT

cytosine deaminase-uracil phosphoribosyltransferase protein

Ad.TRAIL

adenoviral vector-expressing TRAIL

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Prof. Dr. Stefan Kirschner for his continuous moral support.

Author’s contribution

LCD and DG contributed equally in the conception, organization of data and writing of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Cellular Oncology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Division of Thoracic SurgeryEuropean Institute of OncologyMilanItaly

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