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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(7), 14240-14269; doi:10.3390/ijms140714240
Review

Intercellular Communication by Exosome-Derived microRNAs in Cancer

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Received: 2 May 2013; in revised form: 14 June 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013 / Published: 9 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation by non-coding RNAs)
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Abstract: The development of human cancers is a multistep process in which normal cells acquire characteristics that ultimately lead to their conversion into cancer cells. Many obstacles must be overcome for this process to occur; of these obstacles, is the ability to survive an inhospitable microenvironment. It is recognized that the intercommunication between tumor cells and their surrounding microenvironment is essential to overcoming this obstacle and for the tumor to progress, metastasize and establish itself at distant sites. Exosomes are membrane-derived vesicles that have recently been recognized as important mediators of intercellular communication, as they carry lipids, proteins, mRNAs and microRNAs that can be transferred to a recipient cell via fusion of the exosome with the target cell membrane. In the context of cancer cells, this process entails the transfer of cancer-promoting cellular contents to surrounding cells within the tumor microenvironment or into the circulation to act at distant sites, thereby enabling cancer progression. In this process, the transfer of exosomal microRNAs to a recipient cell where they can regulate target gene expression is of particular interest, both in understanding the basic biology of cancer progression and for the development of therapeutic approaches. This review discusses the exosome-mediated intercellular communication via microRNAs within the tumor microenvironment in human cancers, with a particular focus on breast cancer exosomes.
Keywords: exosomes; microvesicles; microRNAs; cancer; breast cancer; microenvironment exosomes; microvesicles; microRNAs; cancer; breast cancer; microenvironment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hannafon, B.N.; Ding, W.-Q. Intercellular Communication by Exosome-Derived microRNAs in Cancer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 14240-14269.

AMA Style

Hannafon BN, Ding W-Q. Intercellular Communication by Exosome-Derived microRNAs in Cancer. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(7):14240-14269.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hannafon, Bethany N.; Ding, Wei-Qun. 2013. "Intercellular Communication by Exosome-Derived microRNAs in Cancer." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 7: 14240-14269.


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