Pancreatic cancer, sometimes called a “silent killer,” is one of the most aggressive human malignancies, with a very poor prognosis. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related morbidity and mortality in the United States.
A mouse peritoneal model was used to test the ability of un-engineered rat umbilical cord matrix derived stem cells (UCMSCs) to control growth of pancreatic cancer. In vivo results are supported by various in vitro assays such as MTT, direct cell count, [3H] thymidine uptake, and soft agar colony assays.
Co-culture of rat UCMSCs with PAN02 murine pancreatic carcinoma cells (UCMSCs:PAN02, 1:6 and 1:3) caused G0/G1 arrest and significantly attenuated the proliferation of PAN02 tumor cells as monitored by MTT assay, direct cell counts, and [3H] thymidine uptake assay. Rat UCMSCs also significantly reduced PAN02 colony size and number as measured by soft agar colony assay. The in vivo mouse studies showed that rat UCMSCs treatment significantly decreased the peritoneal PAN02 tumor burden 3 weeks after tumor transplantation and increased mouse survival time. Histological study revealed that intraperitoneally administered rat UCMSCs survived for at least 3 weeks, and the majority were found near or inside the tumor.
These results indicate that naïve rat UCMSCs alone remarkably attenuate the growth of pancreatic carcinoma cells in vitro and in a mouse peritoneal model. Thus, these studies imply that UCMSCs could be a potential tool for targeted cytotherapy for pancreatic cancer.