Role of tumor-derived exosomes in cancer metastasis


The highlights of cancer research include the discovery of exosomes, which are small (30-100 nm) sized vesicular nanoparticles released virtually by all cells. Tumor-derived exosomes (TDEs) are notoriously known for orchestrating the invasion-metastasis cascade via systemic pathways that have been previously proposed, resulting in a paradigm shift of our understanding about the pathobiology of metastases. In principle, exosomes serve as transport medium for proteins, mRNAs and miRNAs to transmit targeted cues from the primary cell to distant sites via horizontal transfer or cell-receptor interaction. Here researchers from the National University of Singapore explore in-depth the mechanisms engendering TDE in the metastatic cascade, along with experimental models to augment our understanding. The aforementioned has also paved way for parallel advancements in the therapeutic armamentarium, as evident from pronounced efforts to exploit the metastatic process for therapeutic targeting. In this light, the researchers aim to examine potential anti-metastatic therapeutic opportunities derived from exosomal research. Lastly, exosomes may play a crucial role in the contemporary era of “liquid biopsies”, given the array of molecular information with diagnostic and predictive indications. Finally, they explore future applications of exosomes that could illuminate shortcomings and propel advancements in biomarker research.

Wee I, Syn N, Sethi G, Goh BC, Wang L. (2018) Role of Tumor-Derived Exosomes in Cancer Metastasis. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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