The Impact of Human Lipoaspirate and Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells Contact Culture on Breast Cancer Cells: Implications in Breast Reconstruction

Asim Ejaz, Katherine S Yang, Kaushik P Venkatesh, Somaiah Chinnapaka, Lauren E Kokai, J Peter Rubin

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Autologous fat transfer in the form of lipoaspirates for the reconstruction of the breast after breast cancer surgery is a commonly used procedure in plastic surgery. However, concerns regarding the oncologic risk of nutrient-rich fat tissue are widely debated. Previous studies have primarily focused on studying the interaction between adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and breast cancer cells.

In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the paracrine- and contact-based interactions between lipoaspirates, ASCs and breast cancer cell lines. An inverted flask culture method was used to study the contact-based interaction between lipoaspirates and breast cancer cells, while GFP-expressing breast cancer cell lines were generated to study the cell-cell contact interaction with ASCs. Three different human breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and BT-474, were studied. We analyzed the impact of these interactions on the proliferation, cell cycle and epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) transition of the breast cancer cells.

Our results revealed that both lipoaspirates and ASCs do not increase the proliferation rate of the breast cancer cells either through paracrine- or contact-dependent interactions. We observed that lipoaspirates selectively inhibit the proliferation of MCF-7 cells in contact co-culture, driven by the retinoblastoma (Rb) protein activity mediating cell cycle arrest. Additionally, ASCs inhibited MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell proliferation in cell-cell contact-dependent interactions. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed no significant increase in the EMT-related genes in breast cancer cells upon co-culture with ASCs.

In conclusion, this study provides evidence of the non-oncogenic character of lipoaspirates and supports the safety of clinical fat grafting in breast reconstruction after oncological surgical procedures. In vivo studies in appropriate animal models and long-term post-operative clinical data from patients are essential to reach the final safety recommendations.

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Jasmine Walter

Content Editor, Mark Allen Group

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