BACKGROUND: The authors investigate the in vitro and in vivo interaction of human breast cancer cells and human adipose-derived stem cells to address the controversy on the safety of postmastectomy fat grafting. METHODS: The authors co-cultured human adipose-derived stem cells and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in an in vitro cell migration assay to examine the migration of breast cancer cells. In the in vivo arm, the authors injected breast cancer cells (group I), human breast cancer cells plus human adipose-derived stem cells (group II), human breast cancer cells plus human fat graft (group III), and human breast cancer cells plus human fat graft plus human adipose-derived stem cells (group IV) to the mammary fat pads of female nude mice (n = 20). The authors examined the tumors, livers, and lungs histologically after 2 weeks. RESULTS: Migration of breast cancer cells increased significantly when co-cultured with adipose-derived stem cells (p < 0.05). The tumor growth rate in group IV was significantly higher than in groups I and II (p < 0.05). The tumor growth rate in group III was also higher than in groups I and II, but this difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Histologically, there was no liver/lung metastasis at the end of 2 weeks. The vascular density in the tumors from group IV was significantly higher than in other groups (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: The injection of breast cancer cells, fat graft, and adipose-derived stem cells together increases breast cancer xenograft growth rates significantly.
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