The discovery of adult stem cells represents a milestone for the last decade research, due to
their potential use in the field of regenerative therapy.
Adult stem cells exist in all human tissues because they support tissue homeostasis and help in renewal
and healing processes.
Similar to human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs), adult stem cells are able to self-renew and differentiate
into specialized cells of different embryonic germ layers. Their high plasticity makes them a good
candidate in regenerative therapy. Adult stem cells may be suitable to treat common age-related diseases as neurodegenerative
syndromes, heart failure, diabetes, cancer such as autoimmune diseases.
The high plasticity of adult stem cells allows them to integrate into the host tissue after transplantation. As a consequence,
a new microenvironment establishes, which promotes neo-angiogenesis and healing processes. However, recent findings
showed that cancer cells are able to modify the microenvironment and dictate a tumorigenic role in support of cancer onset
Altogether these findings raise some concerns about the safety of adult stem cells for treatment of cancer patients. In this
review, we discuss past findings and future challenges about the development of stem cell therapies for treatment of cancer
patients and examine the extent to which it would be affected by cancer microenvironment.