Regenerative therapy after cancer: What are the risks?

Vera S. Donnenberg, Ludovic Zimmerlin, Joseph Peter Rubin, Albert D. Donnenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


There is often a pressing need for reconstruction after cancer surgery. Regenerative therapy holds the promise of more natural and esthetic functional tissue. In the case of breast reconstruction postmastectomy, volume retention problems associated with autologous fat transfer could be ameliorated by augmentation with cells capable mediating rapid vascularization of the graft. Intentional placement of regenerating tissue at the site of tumor resection raises questions concerning the possibility of promoting cancer recurrence. Here we review coculture and animal models of tumor/mesenchymal stem cell interactions under regenerating conditions. Available evidence from case reports, cell lines, and clinical isolates favors the interpretation that regenerating tissue promotes the growth of active, high-grade tumor. In contrast, dormant cancer cells do not appear to be activated by the complex signals accompanying wound healing and tissue regeneration, suggesting that engineered tissue reconstruction should be deferred until cancer remission has been firmly established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-575
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering - Part B: Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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