Role of mesenchymal cells in the natural history of ovarian cancer: A review

Cyril Touboul, Fabien Vidal, Jennifer Pasquier, Raphael Lis, Arash Rafii

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynaecologic malignancy. Despite progresses in chemotherapy and ultra-radical surgeries, this locally metastatic disease presents a high rate of local recurrence advocating for the role of a peritoneal niche. For several years, it was believed that tumor initiation, progression and metastasis were merely due to the changes in the neoplastic cell population and the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues were regarded as bystanders. The importance of the tumor microenvironment and its cellular component emerged from studies on the histopathological sequence of changes at the interface between putative tumor cells and the surrounding non-neoplastic tissues during carcinogenesis.Method: In this review we aimed to describe the pro-tumoral crosstalk between ovarian cancer and mesenchymal stem cells. A PubMed search was performed for articles published pertaining to mesenchymal stem cells and specific to ovarian cancer.Results: Mesenchymal stem cells participate to an elaborate crosstalk through direct and paracrine interaction with ovarian cancer cells. They play a role at different stages of the disease: survival and peritoneal infiltration at early stage, proliferation in distant sites, chemoresistance and recurrence at later stage.Conclusion: The dialogue between ovarian and mesenchymal stem cells induces the constitution of a pro-tumoral mesencrine niche. Understanding the dynamics of such interaction in a clinical setting might propose new therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number271
JournalJournal of translational medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2014



  • Chemoresistance
  • Crosstalk
  • Dissemination
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Phenotypic modulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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