Upcoming Seminar – Defining the role of tumor-secreted exosomes in the crosstalk with the microenvironment during metastasis


Cancer is a systemic disease, while most of the research effort has been focused on analyzing the primary tumor, there is a lack of information on how the tumor microenvironment influences metastasis and metastatic niche formation. The importance of the microenvironment in cancer formation, metastasis and treatment is now fully acknowledged. Prominent roles for resident cells, such as fibroblasts, bone marrow-derived cells, soluble factors, ECM molecules and secreted vesicles have been established. We have recently found a novel role for tumor-secreted exosomes promoting a pro-metastatic phenotype of bone marrow progenitor cells through in a process called ‘education of the tumor microenvironment’. Importantly, the analysis of plasma-circulating exosomes in cancer patients demonstrated that they contain specific signatures being critical factors in diagnosis and prognosis. Our studies suggest that specific molecules shed on tumor exosomes dictate the behavior of the tumor microenvironment favoring metastasis.

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