Exosome-mediated signaling and tumor progression

Growing evidence points to exosomes as key mediators of cell⁻cell communication, by transferring their specific cargo (e.g., proteins, lipids, DNA and RNA molecules) from producing to receiving cells. In cancer, the regulation of the exosome-mediated intercellular communication may be reshaped, inducing relevant changes in gene expression of recipient cells in addition to microenvironment alterations. Notably, exosomes may deliver signals able to induce the transdifferentiation process known as Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT).

Researchers from the Universities of Palermo and Rome summarize recent findings on the role of exosomes in tumor progression and EMT, highlighting current knowledge on exosome-mediated intercellular communication in tumor-niche establishment, migration, invasion, and metastasis processes. This body of evidence suggests the relevance of taking into account exosome-mediated signaling and its multifaceted aspects to develop innovative anti-tumoral therapeutic approaches.

The role of exosomes in Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)
and tumor progression is depicted


(A) Exosomes originate from the multivesicular bodies that release them by fusing with the cellular membrane. (B) Exosome cargo content of DNA, RNA (including ncRNA) and proteins specifically mediates cell–cell communication in EMT and in the associated tumor progression to promote different outcomes.

Conigliaro A, Cicchini C. (2018) Exosome-Mediated Signaling in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and Tumor Progression. J Clin Med 8(1). [article]

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