Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been used in cell-based therapy in various disease conditions such as graft-versus-host and heart diseases, osteogenesis imperfecta, and spinal cord injuries, and the results have been encouraging. However, as MSC therapy gains popularity among practitioners and researchers, there have been reports on the adverse effects of MSCs especially in the context of tumour modulation and malignant transformation. These cells have been found to enhance tumour growth and metastasis in some studies and have been related to anticancer-drug resistance in other instances. In addition, various studies have also reported spontaneous malignant transformation of MSCs. The mechanism of the modulatory behaviour and the tumorigenic potential of MSCs, warrant urgent exploration, and the use of MSCs in patients with cancer awaits further evaluation. However, if MSCs truly play a role in tumour modulation, they can also be potential targets of cancer treatment.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.