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The dual effect of mesenchymal stem cells on tumour growth and tumour angiogenesis

Michelle Kéramidas1, Florence de Fraipont12, Anastassia Karageorgis1, Anaïck Moisan3, Virginie Persoons2, Marie-Jeanne Richard12, Jean-Luc Coll1 and Claire Rome1*

Author Affiliations

1 Inserm U823, Institut Albert Bonniot, Université Joseph Fourier, Rond-Point de la Chantourne, Grenoble, 38706, France

2 UM Biochimie des Cancers et Biothérapies, CHU de Grenoble, Institut de Biologie et Pathologie, Parvis Belledonne, Grenoble, 38043, France

3 Inserm U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, Université Joseph Fourier, Chemin Fortuné Ferrini, Grenoble, 38706, France

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2013, 4:41  doi:10.1186/scrt195

Published: 29 April 2013



Understanding the multiple biological functions played by human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) as well as their development as therapeutics in regenerative medicine or in cancer treatment are major fields of research. Indeed, it has been established that hMSCs play a central role in the pathogenesis and progression of tumours, but their impact on tumour growth remains controversial.


In this study, we investigated the influence of hMSCs on the growth of pre-established tumours. We engrafted nude mice with luciferase-positive mouse adenocarcinoma cells (TSA-Luc+) to obtain subcutaneous or lung tumours. When tumour presence was confirmed by non-invasive bioluminescence imaging, hMSCs were injected into the periphery of the SC tumours or delivered by systemic intravenous injection in mice bearing either SC tumours or lung metastasis.


Regardless of the tumour model and mode of hMSC injection, hMSC administration was always associated with decreased tumour growth due to an inhibition of tumour cell proliferation, likely resulting from deep modifications of the tumour angiogenesis. Indeed, we established that although hMSCs can induce the formation of new blood vessels in a non-tumoural cellulose sponge model in mice, they do not modify the overall amount of haemoglobin delivered into the SC tumours or lung metastasis. We observed that these tumour vessels were reduced in number but were longer.


Our results suggest that hMSCs injection decreased solid tumour growth in mice and modified tumour vasculature, which confirms hMSCs could be interesting to use for the treatment of pre-established tumours.