Double faced role of human mesenchymal stem cells and their role challenges in cancer therapy

Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2016;11(4):343-51. doi: 10.2174/1574888x11666160201115733.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are multipotent non-hematopoietic precursor cells with the ability to differentiate into several tissue types. The use of hMSCs has gained significant importance in cancer therapies as well as a large number of degenerative disease therapies due to their homing abilities. However, these cells may undergo spontaneous transformation leading to them bypassing naturally built-in cell controls that could lead to senescence and carcinogenesis. Therefore, although MSCs have great potential for cancer therapy, they also risk the development of cancer, which provides them with double-faced characteristics for both cancer development and therapy. The potential use of hMSCs in therapeutics from the aspect of in vitro expansion of hMSCs and telomere dynamic is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Telomere / genetics