Exosomes are extracellular microvesicles released from cells, which are involved in many biological and pathological processes, mainly due to their role in intercellular communication. Exosomes derived from colorectal cancer (CRC) cells are related to oncogenesis, tumor cell survival, chemo-resistance and metastasis. The role of the exosomes in these processes involves the transfer of proteins, RNAs or mutant versions of proto-oncogenes to the target cells. In recent years, great efforts have been made to identify useful biomarkers in CRC exosomes for diagnosis, prediction of prognosis and treatment response. Researchers from the University of Granada discuss recent studies on CRC exosomes, considering isolation, cargo, biomarkers and the effects of exosomes on the development and progression of CRC, including resistance to antitumor therapy.
Suggested role of CRC exosomes in metastasis
Exosomes produced by CRC cells (1) could affect the behavior of distant normal cells contributing to the development of pre-metastatic niches (2). Tumor metastatic cells are able to break endothelialgap-junctions, enter into the circulation and reach pre-metastatic niches. In addition, CRC exosomes could be internalized by other tumor cells (3) and thus acquire molecular components (oncoproteins,miRNAs…) that may accelerate the disease progression and the acquisition of a metastatic phenotype by epithelial mesenchymal transition (4).