Table 2

Anticancer agents delivered by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)

AgentRationaleModelReferences
IFNαImmunostimulatory, apoptosis-inducing and anti-angiogenicMetastasis (melanoma)45
IFNβInduces differentiation, S-phase accumulation and apoptosisOrthotopic (glioma)8
Metastasis (prostate, breast, melanoma)11 12 46
IFNγImmunostimulatory and apoptosis-inducingIn vitro (leukaemia)47
IL2Immunomodulatory cytokineOrthotopic (glioma)48
IL12Activates cytotoxic lymphocytes, natural killer cells and produces IFNγSubcutaneous (melanoma, hepatoma, lung)49 50
CX3CL1Activates cytotoxic lymphocytes and NK cellsMetastasis (melanoma, colon)10
Ganciclovir/HSV-tkEnzyme prodrug conversionOrthotopic (glioma)51
5-FC/cytosine deaminaseEnzyme prodrug conversion (5-FC→5-FU)Subcutaneous (melanoma, colon)52 53
NK4Inhibits angiogenesis and lymphogenesis and promotes apoptosisMetastasis (colon)54
Oncolytic virusesDestroys tumours by viral replicationOrthotopic (breast, lung, ovarian)14 55
Metastasis (breast)56
TRAILInduces apoptosisSubcutaneous (breast)7
Metastasis (breast)7
Orthotopic (glioma)57 58
  • MSCs have been engineered to express a range of anticancer agents. The table describes the rationale for their use and the tumour models (all murine) used to demonstrate the anticancer effect in vivo.

  • 5-FC, 5-fluorocytosine; 5-FU, 5-fluorouracil; HSV-tk, herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase; IFN, interferon; IL, interleukin; NK, natural killer.