Current landscape of tumor-derived exosomal ncRNAs in glioma progression, detection, and drug resistance

Glioma is the most common and fatal tumor of the central nervous system in humans. Despite advances in surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapeutic agents, glioma still has a poor prognosis. The tumor microenvironment (TME) of glioma is of highly complex heterogeneity, which relies on a network-based communication between glioma cells and other stromal cell types. Exosomes are the most common type of naturally occurring extracellular vesicles, ranging in size from 40 to 160 nm, and can serve as carriers for proteins, RNAs, and other biologically active molecules. Recent evidence has shown that glioma-derived exosomes (GDEs) can be integrally detected in the local tissue and circulatory blood samples, and also can be transferred to recipient cells to mediate transmission of genetic information. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) mainly including microRNA, long non-coding RNA, and circular RNA, account for a large portion of the human transcriptome. A broad range of ncRNAs encapsulated in GDEs is reported to exert regulatory functions in various pathophysiological processes of glioma. Researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology summarize the latest findings on the fundamental roles of GDE ncRNAs that have been implicated in glioma behaviors, immunological regulation, diagnosis potential, and treatment resistance, as well as the current limitations and perspectives. Undoubtedly, a thorough understanding of this area will provide comprehensive insights into GDE-based clinical applications for combating gliomas.

The biological function of exosomal ncRNAs in glioma

Fig. 4

The various types ncRNAs specifically present in exosomes largely depend on their cellular origin. GDE ncRNAs play a key role in cell communication, thus mediating a wide range of glioma processes and possessing a confounding effect on glioma progression. More importantly, GDE ncRNAs can be nonrandomly absorbed by heterologous and homologous cells, affecting post-transcriptional gene regulation and leading to behavioral changes characterized by glioma growth and metastasis, angiogenesis, neurocyte reshaping, immune response, treatment resistance. ncRNA Non-coding RNA, GDE glioma-derived exosome.

He X, Qi Y, Zhang X, Liu X, Li X, Li S, Wu Y, Zhang Q. (2021) Current landscape of tumor-derived exosomal ncRNAs in glioma progression, detection, and drug resistance. Cell Death Dis 12(12):1145. [article]

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