Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells derived from the mesoderm that give rise to several mesenchymal lineages, including osteoblasts, adipocytes, chondrocytes and myocytes. Their potent ability to home to tumors coupled with their differentiation potential and immunosuppressive function positions MSCs as key regulators of tumor fate. Here we review the existing knowledge on the involvement of MSCs in multiple tumor-promoting processes, including angiogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, metastasis, immunosuppression and therapy resistance. We also discuss the clinical potential of MSC-based therapy for cancer.
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