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In Vitro Effects of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells on Breast Cancer Cells Harvested From the Same Patient

Charvet, Heath J. MD; Orbay, Hakan MD PhD; Harrison, Lindsey BS; Devi, Kamaljit BS; Sahar, David E. MD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000802
Research Papers

Introduction Fat grafting for breast cancer (BrCa) reconstruction and breast augmentation has become increasingly more popular. A major area of debate and controversy is the effect of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) on remnant or undetected BrCa cells. We investigate the in vitro response of BrCa to ASCs in a coculture model with regards to cell migration.

Methods The study was approved by the institutional review board. BrCa and adipose tissue specimens either from subcutaneous breast tissue or abdominal lipoaspirate were obtained from the same patient. BrCa cells and ASCs were harvested with either explant culture and/or enzymatic digestion. Tissues were grown in cell culture flasks until adequate cell libraries were established. Adipose-derived stem cells from adipose specimens were characterized with flow cytometry. Immunofluorescence (IF) staining of the initial cell population harvested from the BrCa specimens confirmed the presence of CD24, an epithelial marker of BrCa. A homogenous CD 24+/CD 90− BrCa cell population was obtained with flowcytometric cell sorting. The in vitro migration of BrCa cells was examined in coculture with and without ASCs.

Results Adipose-derived stem cells harvested from the adipose specimens were positive for mesenchymal stem cell markers CD 105, CD 90, CD 73, and CD 44 and negative for lymphocyte cell marker CD 34 and leukocyte marker CD 45. The percentage of the CD 24+/CD 90− BrCa cells in the initial cell population harvested from BrCa specimens was 0.61%. The BrCa cells morphologically had large nuclei and small cytoplasm in clusters under the light microscope, suggesting a cancer cell phenotype. CD 24 expression on the surface of BrCa cells was confirmed with IF staining. The number of BrCa cells migrated in ASCs coculture was approximately 10 times higher than the number of BrCa cells migrated in BrCa cell only cultures.

Conclusions Adipose-derived stem cells significantly increase the migration capacity of BrCa cells in vitro in cocultures. This should be taken into consideration when performing fat grafting to the breast especially in patients with a history of BrCa or strong family history of BrCa.

From the *Department of Surgery, and †Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA.

Received June 30, 2015, and accepted for publication, after revision February 8, 2016.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Heath Charvet, MD, Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory, University of California Davis Medical Center, 4625 2nd Avenue, Room 3004 Sacramento, CA 95817. E-mail:

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