The effect of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) on tumour growth remains controversial. Experimental evidence supports both an inhibitory and a stimulatory effect. We have assessed factors responsible for the contrasting effects of MSCs on tumour growth by doing a meta-analysis of existing literature between 2000 and May 2017. We assessed 183 original research articles comprising 338 experiments. We considered (a) in vivo and in vitro experiments, (b) whether in vivo studies were syngeneic or xenogeneic, and (c) if animals were immune competent or deficient. Furthermore, the sources and types of cancer cells and MSCs were considered together with modes of cancer induction and MSC administration. 56% of all 338 experiments reported that MSCs promote tumour growth. 78% and 79% of all experiments sourced human MSCs and cancer cells, respectively. MSCs were used in their naïve and engineered form in 86% and 14% of experiments, respectively, the latter to produce factors that could alter either their activity or that of the tumour. 53% of all experiments were conducted in vitro with 60% exposing cancer cells to MSCs via coculture. Of all in vivo experiments, 79% were xenogeneic and 63% were conducted in immune-competent animals. Tumour growth was inhibited in 80% of experiments that used umbilical cord-derived MSCs, whereas tumour growth was promoted in 64% and 57% of experiments that used bone marrow- and adipose tissue-derived MSCs, respectively. This contrasting effect of MSCs on tumour growth observed under different experimental conditions may reflect differences in experimental design. This analysis calls for careful consideration of experimental design given the large number of MSC clinical trials currently underway.