It is unclear whether mesenchymal stem cells that are applied to regenerate wound tissues can migrate to existing tumors and enhance their growth. The authors investigated whether adipose-derived stem cells had any effect on the growth and progression of distant tumors when applied to a skin wound.

The authors subcutaneously injected murine 4T1 breast cancer cells into all BALB/c-nu/nu mice. After tumor injection, mice were randomized to five groups (five mice per group) based on the means of co-introduction of green fluorescent protein–labeled adipose-derived stem cells, if any. In group 1, adipose-derived stem cells were combined and co-injected subcutaneously. In group 2, they were injected subcutaneously at a distant anatomical site. In group 3, they were injected intravenously. In group 4, they were delivered via a human acellular dermal matrix to a distant skin wound. In group 5, no adipose-derived stem cells were introduced.

After 2 weeks, tumor volume increased in group 1 (356.5 ± 44.4 mm3), followed by group 3 (256.6 ± 47.1 mm3) and then group 2 (201.6 ± 28.6 mm3). In group 4, in which adipose-derived stem cells carried on acellular dermal matrix were applied to a wound distant to the primary tumor, the tumor volume was 143.8 ± 50.9 mm3, which was similar to that observed in the control group (group 5; 167.8 ± 29.9 mm3).

The authors’ findings suggest that the wound microenvironment can retain adipose-derived stem cells, preventing their homing and stromal contribution to a distant neoplastic focus. These findings are an important first step in establishing the feasibility and safety of utilizing adipose-derived stem cell therapy for reconstructive surgery in the setting of malignancy.

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons