The role of the metabolite cargo of extracellular vesicles in tumor progression

Metabolomic reprogramming in tumor and stroma cells is a hallmark of cancer but understanding its effects on the metabolite composition and function of tumor-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) is still in its infancy. EVs are membrane-bound sacs with a complex molecular composition secreted by all living cells. They are key mediators of intercellular communication both in normal and pathological conditions and play a crucial role in tumor development. Although lipids are major components of EVs, most of the EV cargo studies have targeted proteins and nucleic acids. The potential of the EV metabolome as a source for biomarker discovery has gained recognition recently, but knowledge on the biological activity of tumor EV metabolites still remains limited. Researchers from the Eötvös Loránd Research Network have compiled the list of metabolites identified in tumor EVs isolated from either clinical specimens or in vitro samples and described their role in tumor progression through literature search and pathway analysis.

Summary Venn diagram of EV metabolites

Fig. 3

The figure summarizes the metabolites identified in the literature according to their source and expression. The top of the figure shows the sources of the EVs investigated in the different studies, and the identified metabolites are shown at the bottom. The different colors and font styles indicate the expression state of metabolites. The figure was created using GIMP

Harmati M, Bukva M, Böröczky T, Buzás K, Gyukity-Sebestyén E. (2021) The role of the metabolite cargo of extracellular vesicles in tumor progression. Cancer Metastasis Rev [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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