Drug-releasing mesenchymal cells strongly suppress B16 lung metastasis in a syngeneic murine model

Augusto Pessina, Carlo Leonetti, Simona Artuso, Anna Benetti, Enrico Dessy, Luisa Pascucci, Daniela Passeri, Augusto Orlandi, Angiola Berenzi, Arianna Bonomi, Valentina Coccè, Valentina Ceserani, Anna Ferri, Marta Dossena, Pietro Mazzuca, Emilio Ciusani, Piero Ceccarelli, Arnaldo Caruso, Nazario Portolani, Francesca SistoEugenio Parati, Giulio Alessandri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract Background: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are considered an important therapeutic tool in cancer therapy. They possess intrinsic therapeutic potential and can also be in vitro manipulated and engineered to produce therapeutic molecules that can be delivered to the site of diseases, through their capacity to home pathological tissues. We have recently demonstrated that MSCs, upon in vitro priming with anti-cancer drug, become drug-releasing mesenchymal cells (Dr-MCs) able to strongly inhibit cancer cells growth. Methods: Murine mesenchymal stromal cells were loaded with Paclitaxel (Dr-MCsPTX) according to a standardized procedure and their ability to inhibit the growth of a murine B16 melanoma was verified by in vitro assays. The anti-metastatic activity of Dr-MCsPTX was then studied in mice injected i.v. with B16 melanoma cells that produced lung metastatic nodules. Lung nodules were counted under a dissecting stereomicroscope and metastasis investigated by histological analysis. Results: We found that three i.v. injections of Dr-MCsPTX on day 5, 10 and 15 after tumor injection almost completely abolished B16 lung metastasis. Dr-MCsPTX arrested into lung by interacting with endothelium and migrate toward cancer nodule through a complex mechanism involving primarily mouse lung stromal cells (mL-StCs) and SDF-1/CXCR4/CXCR7 axis. Conclusions: Our results show for the first time that Dr-MCsPTX are very effective to inhibit lung metastasis formation. Actually, a cure for lung metastasis in humans is mostly unlikely and we do not know whether a therapy combining engineered MSCs and Dr-MCs may work synergistically. However, we think that our approach using Dr-MCs loaded with PTX may represent a new valid and additive therapeutic tool to fight lung metastases and, perhaps, primary lung cancers in human.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 13 2015


  • B16 melanoma
  • Drug-delivery
  • Lung metastasis
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Paclitaxel
  • SDF-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Drug-releasing mesenchymal cells strongly suppress B16 lung metastasis in a syngeneic murine model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this