Application of Stem Cells in Targeted Therapy of Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review

  • Madjd, Zahra (Department of Pathology, Iran University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Gheytanchi, Elmira (Oncopathology Research Centre, Iran University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Erfani, Elham (Oncopathology Research Centre, Iran University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Asadi-Lari, Mohsen (Department of Epidemiology, Oncopathology Research Centre, Iran University of Medical Sciences)
  • Published : 2013.05.30


Background: The aim of this systematic review was to investigate whether stem cells could be effectively applied in targeted therapy of breast cancer. Material and Method: A systematic literature search was performed for original articles published from January 2007 until May 2012. Results: Nine studies met the inclusion criteria for phase I or II clinical trials, of which three used stem cells as vehicles, two trials used autologous hematopoetic stem cells and in four trials cancer stem cells were targeted. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were applied as cellular vehicles to transfer therapeutic agents. Cell therapy with MSC can successfully target resistant cancers. Cancer stem cells were selectively targeted via a proteasome-dependent suicide gene leading to tumor regression. $Wnt/{\beta}$-catenin signaling pathway has been also evidenced to be an attractive CSC-target. Conclusions: This systematic review focused on two different concepts of stem cells and breast cancer marking a turning point in the trials that applied stem cells as cellular vehicles for targeted delivery therapy as well as CSC-targeted therapies. Applying stem cells as targeted therapy could be an effective therapeutic approach for treatment of breast cancer in the clinic and in therapeutic marketing; however this needs to be confirmed with further clinical investigations.


Breast cancer;stem cells;cellular vehicles;targeted therapy;systematic review


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