Cancer extracellular vesicles: next-generation diagnostic and drug delivery nanotools

Nanosized extracellular vesicles (EVs) with dimensions ranging from 100 to 1000 nm are continuously secreted from different cells in their extracellular environment. They are able to encapsulate and transfer various biomolecules, such as nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids, that play an essential role in cell‒cell communication, reflecting a novel method of extracellular cross-talk. Since EVs are present in large amounts in most bodily fluids, challengeable hypotheses are analyzed to unlock their potential roles. Researchers from the Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano discuss EV’s specific characteristics (structure, formation, composition, and isolation methods), focusing on their key role in cell biology. Furthermore, they summarize the biomedical applications of EVs, in particular those between 30 and 150 nm (like exosomes), as next-generation diagnostic tools in liquid biopsy for cancer and as novel drug delivery vehicles.

EEVs’ biogenesis, content, and functions

EEVs are eventually secreted by any cells in the bloodstream to deliver their cargos to targeted cells, regulating, among other functions, neoangiogenesis, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and drug resistance. EEVs are demonstrated to be useful biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. These nanovesicles could also be engineered in order to be loaded with drugs or therapeutic molecules.

Palazzolo S, Memeo L, Hadla M, Duzagac F, Steffan A, Perin T, Canzonieri V, Tuccinardi T, Caligiuri I, Rizzolio F. (2020) Cancer Extracellular Vesicles: Next-Generation Diagnostic and Drug Delivery Nanotools. Cancers (Basel) 12(11):E3165. [article]

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