Author(s): Liotta F, Querci V, Mannelli G, Santarlasci V, Maggi L,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Cancer is a multifactorial disease not only restricted to transformed epithelium, but also involving cells of the immune system and cells of mesenchymal origin, particularly mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Mesenchymal stem cells contribute to blood- and lymph- neoangiogenesis, generate myofibroblasts, with pro-invasive activity and may suppress anti-tumour immunity. METHODS: In this paper, we evaluated the presence and features of MSCs isolated from human head neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). RESULTS: Fresh specimens of HNSCC showed higher proportions of CD90+ cells compared with normal tissue; these cells co-expressed CD29, CD105, and CD73, but not CD31, CD45, CD133, and human epithelial antigen similarly to bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs). Adherent stromal cells isolated from tumour shared also differentiation potential with BM-MSCs, thus we named them as tumour-MSCs. Interestingly, tumour-MSCs showed a clear immunosuppressive activity on in vitro stimulated T lymphocytes, mainly mediated by indoelamine 2,3 dioxygenase activity, like BM-MSCs. To evaluate their possible role in tumour growth in vivo, we correlated tumour-MSC proportions with neoplasm size. Tumour-MSCs frequency directly correlated with tumour volume and inversely with the frequency of tumour-infiltrating leukocytes. CONCLUSIONS: These data support the concept that tumour-MSCs may favour tumour growth not only through their effect on stromal development, but also by inhibiting the anti-tumour immune response.
This article was published in Br J Cancer
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy