Exosomes and their implications in central nervous system tumor biology


Exosomes are 20-100 nm cellular derived vesicles that upon discovery, were thought to be a form of cellular recycling of intracellular contents. More recently, these vesicles are under investigation for their purported significant roles in intercellular communication in both healthy and diseased states. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine focus on the secretion of exosomes associated with glioblastoma, as most exosome studies on brain tumors have been performed in this tumor type. However, they included exosomes secreted from other forms of brain tumors for comparison as available. Exosomes contain intracellular content that can be transferred to other cells in the tumor or to cells of the immune system andendothelial cells. These recipient cells may subsequently take on oncogenic properties, including therapeutic resistance, cancer progression, and angiogenesis. Genetic components (DNA, RNA and miRNA) of the cell of origin may be included in the secreted exosomes. The presence of genetic material in the exosomes could serve as a biomarker for mutations in tumors, potentially leading to novel treatment strategies. In the last decade, exosomes have been identified as having a major impact on multiple aspects of medicine and tumor biology, and appear to be primed for a critical position in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

Mrowczynski OD, Zacharia BE, Connor JR. (2018) Exosomes and Their Implications in Central Nervous System Tumor Biology. Prog Neurobiol [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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