Nov 7, 2019

Extracellular vesicles as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for cancer

American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology
Fumihiko UrabeTakahiro Ochiya


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small lipid membrane vesicles that are secreted from almost all kinds of cells into the extracellular space. EVs are widely accepted to be involved in various cellular processes; in particular, EVs derived from cancer cells have been reported to play important roles in modifying the tumor microenvironment and promoting tumor progression. In addition, EVs derived from cancer cells encapsulate various kinds of tumor-specific molecules, such as proteins and RNAs, which contribute to cancer malignancy. Therefore, unveiling the precise mechanism of intercellular communication via EVs in cancer patients will provide a novel strategy for cancer treatment. Furthermore, a focus on the contents of EVs could promote the use of EVs in body fluids as clinically useful diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. In this review, we summarize the current research knowledge on EVs as biomarkers and therapeutic targets and discuss their potential clinical applications.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
Cellular Process
Extracellular Space
Intercellular Communication Process
Cancer Treatment
Pharmacologic Substance
Tumor Cells, Malignant
Body Fluids
Malignant Neoplasms

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