TRAIL delivered by mesenchymal stromal/stem cells counteracts tumor development in orthotopic Ewing sarcoma models

Int J Cancer. 2016 Dec 15;139(12):2802-2811. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30402. Epub 2016 Sep 12.


Ewing sarcoma (EWS) is the second most frequent pediatric malignant bone tumor. EWS patients have not seen any major therapeutic progress in the last 30 years, in particular in the case of metastatic disease, which requires new therapeutic strategies. The pro-apoptotic cytokine TNF-Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) can selectively kill tumor cells while sparing normal cells, making it a promising therapeutic tool in several types of cancer. However, certain EWS cell lines appear resistant to recombinant human (rh) TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We therefore hypothesized that a TRAIL presentation at the surface of the carrier cells might overcome this resistance and trigger apoptosis. For this purpose, human adipose mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSC) transfected in a stable manner to express full-length human TRAIL were co-cultured with several human EWS cell lines, inducing apoptosis by cell-to-cell contact even in cell lines initially resistant to rhTRAIL or AMG655, an antibody agonist to the death receptor, DR5. In vivo, TRAIL delivered by MSCs was able to counteract tumor progression in two orthotopic models of Ewing sarcoma, associated with caspase activation, indicating that a cell-based delivery of a potent apoptosis-inducing factor could be relevant in EWS.

Keywords: Ewing sarcoma; MSC; TRAIL; microenvironment; resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / etiology*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / metabolism*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / mortality
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / pathology
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / genetics*
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Caspases