Cancer is a multi-faceted disease that has to be approached with myriads of treatments to be won. Before the invention of various effective therapies that can now be used in treatment of cancers, patients had no option but to rely on three main treatments, which are the chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. These are the most commonly used cancer treatments in the mainstream medicine. They have been used for years and have been thought as the most effective because they all target the damaged cells or other the cancerous cells. However every patient who has gone through these treatments will attests to the fact that with these treatments it takes longer to be the person you used to be before the invasion of the disease. Even after being discharged there are signs that will always remind of the agony that you went through when dealing with cancer. All types of cancer are known for the pain they cause, the breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that have seen many women lose their breasts that had to be chopped to stop the cancerous cells from affecting the neighboring tissues and spreading farthest making it harder to contain. after the surgery which when done well and succeeds the spread of cancer can be contained and the cancer patients can be free from the disease, there are marks that are left on the patient, there also living cells that are also affected as a result of damage caused when the surgery was taking place, it is therefore prudent to get a cancer patient through a recovery and reconstruction phase. This phase takes place after cancer treatment and is aimed at retaining the appearance and the optimal health and wellness that the patient had before the invasion of the disease. Recently different researchers have been proposing the use of the adult stem cells to help in the cancer reconstruction phase.
The adipose tissues are a home of millions of mesenchymal stem cells that have been hailed for their ability in healing degenerative diseases. Recently, fat graft was proposed for breast reconstruction in post-surgery cancer patients achieving good aesthetic results and tissues regeneration. In spite of the known medicinal abilities of the stem cells, there have been speculations that have since been backed up by findings that adipose derived stem cells may have a role in cancer recurrence. These findings have since raised concerns over the safety of using the stem cells in cancer reconstruction.
To verify these findings a group of researchers namely; Eterno V, Zambelli A, Pavesi L, Villani L, Zanini V, Petrolo G, Manera S, Tuscano A and Amato A. did a research which involved establishing a model where autologous ASCs were combined with primary normal or cancer cells from breast of human donors, in order to evaluate potential effects of their interactions, in vitro and in vivo.
In the recent past autologous fat graft has been used as filler for breast reconstruction in cancer patients after conservative surgery. The past reports have shown that adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells have great capability in several medical fields such as plastic, orthopedic, cardiac, oral/maxillofacial and breast surgery. Autologous fat grafts were used to correct irregularities and, surprisingly they showed to promote a local tissue repair as a result of a new microenvironment, where Adipose Stem Cells favor healing processes], as it was shown for tissue damaged by radiotherapy in post-surgery breast cancer patients. However, it has been found that the mesenchymal stem cells that are essential for proper tissues development and homeostasis as described for mammary gland also have a role to play in cancer recurrence. The mesenchymal stem cells have been found to favor epithelial growth toward a tumorigenic development in breast cancer. They do this since the mesenchymal stem cells can secrete cytokines, chemokines and growth factors essential for development and maintenance of an inflammatory state, improving physiological tissue regeneration after injury but also at the same time the inflammatory state favors the growth of tumors.
In their research, Eterno V et al found that a well-orchestrated inflammatory response supports tumorigenesis, creating an optimal microenvironment where cancer cells are continuously stimulated to proliferate, also by recruitment of several cell types able to promote tumor neoangiogenesis. Besides, inflammation contributes to metastasis favoring homing of disseminated tumor cells in new tissues . This theory is feasible since the breast tumor cells also produce cytokines and growth factors, and express their cognate receptors which could be activated both in a paracrine and autocrine fashion.
In this study it was also found that the mesenchymal stem cells encourages growth of tumors by influencing breast cancer phenotype, in terms of aggressiveness and invasive capability, such as supporting Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) which has been reported to lead tumor cell dissemination and metastasis. The study established a model where autologous ASCs and primary breast cancer cells from human donors were combined in order to evaluate potential effects of their interactions, in vitro and in vivo.
The cultured breast cancer cells showed an increase in proliferation rate and invasive capabilities, acquiring a metastatic signature in Vitro while in Vivo simultaneous co-injection of primary breast cancer cells and Adipose Stem Cells into nude mice suggested adipose stem cells did not differentiate into adipocytes but instead integrated into the tumor stroma, aggravating tumorigenicity of primary breast cancer cells. The study however found that adipose stem cells were not tumorigenic per sè, as they were not able to induce a neoplastic transformation in normal mammary cells, which failed to form tumors in vivo.
Finally, cancer is a serious disease that ought to be approached integratively, Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert in integrative and regenerative medicine will be able to help. Visit us at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Centre at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.