The white adipose tissue used in lipotransfer procedures is a rich reservoir of CD34 + progenitors able to promote cancer progression

Ines Martin-Padura, Giuliana Gregato, Paola Marighetti, Patrizia Mancuso, Angelica Calleri, Chiara Corsini, Giancarlo Pruneri, Michela Manzotti, Visnu Lohsiriwat, Mario Rietjens, Jean Yves Petit, Francesco Bertolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have suggested a "catalytic role" in neoplastic angiogenesis and cancer progression for bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPC). However, preclinical and clinical studies have shown that the quantitative role of marrow-derived EPCs in cancer vascularization is extremely variable. We have found that human and murine white adipose tissue (WAT) is a very rich reservoir of CD45-CD34 + EPCs with endothelial differentiation potential, containing a mean of 263 times more CD45-CD34 + cells/mL than bone marrow. Compared with marrow-derived CD34 + cells mobilized in blood by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, purified WAT-CD34 + cells expressed similar levels of stemness-related genes, significantly increased levels of angiogenesis-related genes, and increased levels of FAP-α, a crucial suppressor of antitumor immunity. In vitro, WAT-CD34 + cells generated mature endothelial cells and capillary tubes as efficiently as mature mesenchymal cells. The coinjection of human WAT-CD34 + cells from lipotransfer procedures contributed to tumor vascularization and significantly increased tumor growth and metastases in several orthotopic models of human breast cancer in immunodeficient mice. Endothelial cells derived from human WAT-CD34 + cells lined the lumen of cancer vessels. These data indicate that CD34 + WAT cells can promote cancer progression and metastases. Our results highlight the importance of gaining a better understanding of the role of different WAT-derived cells used in lipotransfer for breast reconstruction in patients with breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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