INTRODUCTION: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been used in cancer therapy as vehicles to deliver therapeutic materials such as drugs, apoptosis inducers and cytokines due to their ability to migrate and home at the tumour site. Furthermore, MSCs have been genetically engineered to produce anticancer molecules such as TRAIL that can induce apoptosis of cancer cells. However, MSCs' presence in the tumour microenvironment has shown to be involved in promoting tumour growth and progression. Therefore, the roles of MSCs either promoting or suppressing tumorigenesis need to be investigated.
METHODS: Human adipose-derived MSCs (Ad-MSCs) and A549 cells are co-cultured together in indirect co-culture system using Transwell insert. Following co-culture, both cells were analysed in terms of growth rate, migration ability, apoptosis and gene expression for genes involved in migration and stemness characteristics.
RESULTS: The result shows that Ad-MSCs promoted the growth of A549 cells when indirectly co-cultured for 48 and 72 h. Furthermore, Ad-MSCs significantly enhanced the migration rate of A549 cells. The increased in migration rate was in parallel with the significant increase of MMP9. There are no significant changes observed in the expression of TWIST2, CDH2 and CDH1, genes involved in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Ad-MSCs also protect A549 cancer cells from undergoing apoptosis and increase the survival of cancer cells.
CONCLUSION: Secretion of soluble factors from Ad-MSCs has been shown to promote the growth and metastatic characteristics of A549 cancer cells. Therefore, the use of Ad-MSCs in cancer therapy needs to be carefully evaluated in the long-term aspect.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.