Normal and tumor cells shed vesicles to the environment. Within the large family of extracellular vesicles, exosomes and microvesicles have attracted much attention in the recent years. Their interest ranges from mediators of cancer progression, inflammation, immune regulation and metastatic niche regulation, to non-invasive biomarkers of disease. In this respect, the procedures to purify and analyze extracellular vesicles have quickly evolved and represent a source of variability for data integration in the field.
- Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are secreted virtually by all cell types and vary in cargo and composition.
- Cancer cells exhibit altered EV composition.
- The presence of EVs in biofluids support applicability as biomarkers for cancer detection, monitoring or classification.
- The improvement in EV isolation tools is a critical step in the future use of these particles as biomarkers.
Schematic representation of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as biomarkers in liquid biopsy
The distinct composition of EVs and its cargo in normal and cancer cells is indicated by differential coloring. Shedding of EVs to blood and urine is depicted (note that urine accessibility will be organ-dependent). The potential of cancer-EVs to educate the pre-metastatic niche is represented as the accumulation of vesicles in target organs.