Human amniotic membrane-derived epithelial stem cells display anticancer activity in BALB/c female nude mice bearing disseminated breast cancer xenografts

Int J Oncol. 2012 Jun;40(6):2022-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2012.1372. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Breast cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors and the leading cause of mortality among women. In this study, we propose a human stem cell transplantation strategy, an important method for treating various cancers, as a potential breast cancer therapy. To this end, we used human amniotic membrane-derived epithelial stem cells (hAECs) as a cell source for performing human stem cell transplantation. hAECs have multipotent differentiation abilities and possess high proliferative potential. We transplanted hAECs into female BALB/c nude mice bearing tumors originating from MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Co-culturred hAECs and MDA-MB-231 cells at a ratio of 1:4 or 1:8 (tumor cells to stem cells) inhibited breast cancer cell growth by 67.29 and 67.33%, respectively. In the xenograft mouse model, tumor volumes were significantly decreased by 5-flurouracil (5-FU) treatment and two different ratios of hAECs (1:4 and 1:8) by 84.33, 73.88 and 56.89%, respectively. Treatment of nude mice with hAECs (1:4) produced remarkable antitumor effects without any side-effects (e.g., weight loss, death and bruising) compared to the mice that received only 5-FU treatment. Tumor progression was significantly reduced by hAEC treatment compared to the xenograft model. On the other hand, breast tissues (e.g., the epidermis, dermis and reticular layer) appeared to be well-maintained following treatment with hAECs. Taken together, these results provide strong evidence that hAECs can be used as a safe and effective cancer-targeting cytotherapy for treating breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Tumor Burden


  • Cytokines