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Extracellular vesicles as emerging targets in cancer: Recent development from bench to bedside

Wu, Kerui, Fei Xing, Shih-Ying Wu, and Kounosuke Watabe.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Reviews on Cancer (2017).

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as important players of cancer initiation and progression through cell-cell communication. They have been recognized as critical mediators of extracellular communications, which promote transformation, growth invasion, and drug-resistance of cancer cells. Interestingly, the secretion and uptake of EVs are regulated in a more controlled manner than previously anticipated. EVs are classified into three groups, (i) exosomes, (ii) microvesicles (MVs), and (iii) apoptotic bodies (ABs), based on their sizes and origins, and novel technologies to isolate and distinguish these EVs are evolving. The biologically functional molecules harbored in these EVs, including nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins, have been shown to induce key signaling pathways in both tumor and tumor microenvironment (TME) cells for exacerbating tumor development. While tumor cell-derived EVs are capable of reprogramming stromal cells to generate a proper tumor cell niche, stromal-derived EVs profoundly affect the growth, resistance, and stem cell properties of tumor cells. This review summarizes and discusses these reciprocal communications through EVs in different types of cancers. Further understanding of the pathophysiological roles of different EVs in tumor progression is expected to lead to the discovery of novel biomarkers in liquid biopsy and development of tumor specific therapeutics. This review will also discuss the translational aspects of EVs and therapeutic opportunities of utilizing EVs in different cancer types.

Keywords

Extracellular vesicles
Exosome
Microvesicle
Apoptotic body
Cancer
Translational studies
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