Sarcomas as a mise en abyme of mesenchymal stem cells: exploiting interrelationships for cell mediated anticancer therapy

Cancer Lett. 2012 Dec 1;325(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.05.027. Epub 2012 May 29.


Mise en abyme meaning "placed into abyss or infinite recurrence" is an apt paradigm for the relentless growth of sarcoma cells. Its alternative meaning, "self-reflexive embedding" fits the central role attributed to cancer stem cells (CSCs). Diversely sourced and defined, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may be the cells of sarcoma origin, evolve a CSC phenotype and/or contribute to tumor growth through inherent qualities for homing, neovascularization, paracrine cross-feeding, microvesicle secretion, cell fusion, entosis and immune modulation. Exploiting these qualities, MSC expressing modified forms of the TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (Apo2L/TRAIL) are being developed to complement more conventional radiation and chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Sarcoma / pathology*
  • Sarcoma / therapy*