Functionality of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells derived from head and neck cancer patients - A FDA-IND enabling study regarding MSC-based treatments for radiation-induced xerostomia

pubmed: wnt1 2024-05-26

Radiother Oncol. 2024 Mar;192:110093. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2024.110093. Epub 2024 Jan 13.


PURPOSE: Salivary dysfunction is a significant side effect of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer (HNC). Preliminary data suggests that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can improve salivary function. Whether MSCs from HNC patients who have completed chemoradiation are functionally similar to those from healthy patients is unknown. We performed a pilot clinical study to determine whether bone marrow-derived MSCs [MSC(M)] from HNC patients could be used for the treatment of RT-induced salivary dysfunction.

METHODS: An IRB-approved pilot clinical study was undertaken on HNC patients with xerostomia who had completed treatment two or more years prior. Patients underwent iliac crest bone marrow aspirate and MSC(M) were isolated and cultured. Culture-expanded MSC(M) were stimulated with IFNγ and cryopreserved prior to reanimation and profiling for functional markers by flow cytometry and ELISA. MSC(M) were additionally injected into mice with radiation-induced xerostomia and the changes in salivary gland histology and salivary production were examined.

RESULTS: A total of six subjects were enrolled. MSC(M) from all subjects were culture expanded to > 20 million cells in a median of 15.5 days (range 8-20 days). Flow cytometry confirmed that cultured cells from HNC patients were MSC(M). Functional flow cytometry demonstrated that these IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) acquired an immunosuppressive phenotype. IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) from HNC patients were found to express GDNF, WNT1, and R-spondin 1 as well as pro-angiogenesis and immunomodulatory cytokines. In mice, IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) injection after radiation decreased the loss of acinar cells, decreased the formation of fibrosis, and increased salivary production.

CONCLUSIONS: MSC (M) from previously treated HNC patients can be expanded for auto-transplantation and are functionally active. Furthermore IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) express proteins implicated in salivary gland regeneration. This study provides preliminary data supporting the feasibility of using autologous MSC(M) from HNC patients to treat RT-induced salivary dysfunction.

PMID:38224919 | PMC:PMC10922976 | DOI:10.1016/j.radonc.2024.110093