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imageAbstractFound in most mesenchymally derived organs, mesenchymal stem cells are undifferentiated cells capable of developing into many cell types. Adipose stem cells are a type of mesenchymal stem cell easily extracted from lipoaspirate, often readily available, and are conformable to the tissue defect. Their ability for self-renewal, unlimited proliferation and proangiogenic, and immunomodulatory properties have made them attractive adjuncts in plastic surgery. Since the discovery of pluripotent cells in adipose tissue, plastic surgeons have applied the technology toward improving wound healing, soft tissue augmentation, and tissue engineering. More recently, some surgeons have used adipose stem cells in cancer reconstruction. By mixing lipoaspirate with concentrated fractions of adipose stem cells through a technique termed cell-assisted lipotransfer, plastic surgeons have claimed improved aesthetic results. Promising early results have been tempered by in vitro and animal studies demonstrating increased tumor proliferation and metastasis rates with the use of adipose and other mesenchymal stem cells. This review provides a succinct yet comprehensive overview of the current literature evaluating the oncologic risks associated with adipose stem cell use in cancer.

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