Research Papers:

CD90low MSCs modulate intratumoral immunity to confer antitumor activity in a mouse model of ovarian cancer

Yang Zeng, Binghao Li, Tao Li, Wei Liu, Chongzhao Ran, Richard T. Penson, Mark C. Poznansky, Yanan Du and Huabiao Chen _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:4479-4491. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27065

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Yang Zeng1,5, Binghao Li1,6, Tao Li1,7, Wei Liu2, Chongzhao Ran3, Richard T. Penson4, Mark C. Poznansky1, Yanan Du2 and Huabiao Chen1

1 Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA

2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

3 Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown 02129, USA

4 Medical Gynecologic Oncology, Gillette Center for Women's Cancers, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA

5 Department of Cancer Biology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston 02215, USA

6 Department of Orthopaedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310009, China

7 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu 212013, China

Correspondence to:

Huabiao Chen,email: [email protected]

Keywords: mesenchymal stem cells; CD90; ovarian cancer; immunotherapy

Received: May 13, 2019     Accepted: June 19, 2019     Published: July 09, 2019


Both anti-tumoral and pro-tumoral effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in preclinical treatment of ovarian cancer have been controversially demonstrated. In this study, we profiled the phenotypes of mouse compact bone-derived MSCs (CB-MSCs) and bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) and found that CB-MSCs expressed lower CD90 compared to BM-MSCs. We examined gene expression of immune regulating cytokines of CB-MSCs in 2D and 3D culture and under stimulation with TLR4 agonist LPS or immune activator VIC-008. Our data showed that when CB-MSCs were cultured in simulated in vivo 3D condition, CD90 expression was further decreased. Moreover, gene expressions of immune activating cytokines IL-12, IL-21, IFNγ and a pro-inflammatory cytokine CXCL10 in CB-MSCs were increased in 3D culture whereas gene expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 and CCL5 were downregulated. Stimulation of CB-MSCs by LPS or VIC-008 presented similar profile of the cytokine gene expressions to that in 3D culture which might benefit the anti-tumor efficacy of CD90low MSCs. The anti-tumor effects of CD90low CB-MSCs alone or in combination with VIC-008 were evaluated in a syngeneic orthotopic mouse model of ovarian cancer. Treatment that combines CB-MSCs and VIC-008 significantly decreased tumor growth and prolonged mouse survival. This was associated with the increase of activated anti-tumoral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and the decrease of Treg cells in the tumor microenvironment. Taken together, our study demonstrates the synergistic anti-tumoral efficacy by application of CB-MSCs combined with immune activator VIC-008 and provides new insight into CD90low MSCs as a new anti-tumor arsenal.

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