Extensive research in genetics and genomics has revealed that lung cancer is a physiologically complex and genetically heterogeneous disease. Although molecular targets that can yield favorable response have been identified, those targets cannot be exploited due to the lack of suitable drug carriers. Furthermore, lung cancer often is diagnosed at an advanced stage when the disease has metastasized. Conventional treatments are not effective for treating metastatic lung cancer. Targeted therapeutics while beneficial has challenges that include poor tumor-targeting, off-target effects, and development of resistance to therapy. Therefore, improved drug delivery systems that can deliver drugs specifically to tumor will produce improved treatment outcomes. Exosomes have a natural ability to carry functional biomolecules, such as small RNAs, DNAs, and proteins, in their lumen. This property makes exosomes attractive for use in drug delivery and molecular diagnosis. Moreover, exosomes can be attached to nanoparticles and used for high precision imaging. Exosomes are now considered an important component in liquid biopsy assessments, which are useful for detecting cancers, including lung cancer. Several studies are currently underway to develop methods of exploiting exosomes for use as efficient drug delivery vehicles and to develop novel diagnostic modalities. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center summarize the current status of exosome studies with regard to their use as theranostics in lung cancer. Examples from other cancers have also been cited to illustrate the extensive applicability of exosomes to therapy and diagnosis.
Exosomes as theranostics for lung cancer
Srivastava A, Amreddy N, Razaq M, Towner R, Zhao YD, Ahmed RA, Munshi A, Ramesh R. (2018) Exosomes as Theranostics for Lung Cancer. Adv Cancer Res 139:1-33. [abstract]