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Sarcoma
Volume 2011, Article ID 276463, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/276463
Review Article

Mesenchymal Stem Cells and the Origin of Ewing's Sarcoma

1Department of Orthopaedic Oncology (Unit 1448), University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Department of Genetics (Unit 1010), University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Received 14 July 2010; Accepted 6 September 2010

Academic Editor: Cyril Fisher

Copyright © 2011 Patrick P. Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The origin of Ewing's sarcoma is a subject of much debate. Once thought to be derived from primitive neuroectodermal cells, many now believe it to arise from a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). Expression of the EWS-FLI1 fusion gene in MSCs changes cell morphology to resemble Ewing's sarcoma and induces expression of neuroectodermal markers. In murine cells, transformation to sarcomas can occur. In knockdown experiments, Ewing's sarcoma cells develop characteristics of MSCs and the ability to differentiate into mesodermal lineages. However, it cannot be concluded that MSCs are the cell of origin. The concept of an MSC still needs to be rigorously defined, and there may be different subpopulations of mesenchymal pluripotential cells. Furthermore, EWS-FLI1 by itself does not transform human cells, and cooperating mutations appear to be necessary. Therefore, while it is possible that Ewing's sarcoma may originate from a primitive mesenchymal cell, the idea needs to be refined further.