Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membraned vesicles and approximately 50-150 nm in diameter. Almost all of the type of cells releases the EVs and circulates in the body fluids. EVs contain multiple functional components, such as mRNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs), DNAs, and proteins, which can be transferred to the recipient cells, resulting in phenotypic changes. Recently, EV research has focused on their potential as a drug delivery vehicle and in targeted therapy against specific molecules. Moreover, some surface proteins are specific to particular diseases, and therefore, EVs also have promise as biomarkers. Researchers from the National Cancer Center Japan summarize the latest research focused on EVs, which have the potential to become a promising drug delivery method, biomarker, and new therapeutic target for improving the outcomes of cancer patients.
EVs are a powerful and promising tool for cancer therapy
EVs have potential as biomarkers, drug delivery vehicles, and new targets in cancer therapy. To use EVs for liquid biopsy, an easier and lower-cost method is needed. Low encapsulation ratio is the most significant issue for the use of EVs as a DDS carrier. There are still some issues to be solved to start EV-based therapy. EV-targeting therapy is very promising, because the pathways promoted by EVs are completely different from those targeted by existing anticancer drugs; however, the elucidation of cancer-specific EV secretory pathways or cancer-specific antigens on EVs is needed.