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Chemotherapy-induced Dkk-1 expression by primary human mesenchymal stem cells is p53 dependent

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are abundant throughout the body and regulate signaling within tumor microenvironments. Wnt signaling is an extrinsically regulated pathway that has been shown to regulate tumorigenesis in many types of cancer. After evaluating a panel of Wnt activating and inhibiting molecules, we show that primary human MSCs increase the expression of Dkk-1, an inhibitor of Wnt signaling, into the extracellular environment following chemotherapy exposure in a p53-dependent manner. Dkk-1 has been shown to promote tumor growth in several models of malignancy, suggesting that MSC-derived Dkk-1 could counteract the intent of cytotoxic chemotherapy, and that pharmacologic inhibition of Dkk-1 in patients receiving chemotherapy treatment for certain malignancies may be warranted.

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