Salivary exosomes as potential biomarkers in cancer


Over the past decade, there has been emerging research in the field of extracellular vesicles, especially those originating from endosomes, referred to as ‘exosomes. Exosomes are membrane-bound nanovesicles secreted by most cell types upon fusion of multivesicular bodies (MVBs) to the cell plasma membrane. These vesicles are present in almost all body fluids such as blood, urine, saliva, breast milk, cerebrospinal and peritoneal fluids. Exosomes participate in intercellular communication by transferring the biologically active molecules like proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids to neighboring cells. Exosomes are enriched in the tumour microenvironment and growing evidence demonstrates that exosomes mediate cancer progression and metastasis. Given the important biological role played by these nanovesicles in cancer pathogenesis, these can be used as ideal non-invasive biomarkers in detecting and monitoring tumours as well as therapeutic targets. Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology provide an overview of exosomes with a special focus on salivary exosomes as potential biomarkers in head and neck cancers.

Nair S, Tang KD, Kenny L, Punyadeera C. (2018) Salivary exosomes as potential biomarkers in cancer. Oral Oncol 84:31-40. [abstract]

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