• Mesenchymal stroma cells;
  • Transformed cell line;
  • Cell interaction;
  • Xenotransplantation;
  • Metastasis


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are able to influence the growth abilities of transformed cells. Here, we show that papillary thyroid cancer TPC1 and HEK 293T cells interact physically with human primary bone marrow-derived MSCs followed by evanescence of MSC cytoplasm. Interestingly, transformed cells were able to connect only to apoptotic MSCs that had lost their migration ability, whereas naïve MSCs avoided the direct contact. The interaction stimulated the proliferation of the cocultured transformed cells, activated mitogen and stress signaling, and increased resistance to cytotoxins. Consistent with in vitro data, the MSC interaction stimulated transformed cells had enhanced ability to grow and metastasize in vivo. The parental control cells showed mild tumorigenicity as compared to MSC interaction stimulated cells yielding measurable tumors in 31 days and 7 days, respectively. Our coculture model system describes how adjacent transformed cells absorb stromal cells thereby leading to the stroma-driven evolution of moderately carcinogenic cells to highly aggressive metastatic cells. STEM Cells 2013;31:1218–1223