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Tiny Actors in the Big Cellular World: Extracellular Vesicles Playing Critical Roles in Cancer

Research Center for Functional Genomics, Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 400337 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Department of Pathology, Faculty Hospital Brno and Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic
SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute, Singapore 169857, Singapore
Department of Clinical Oncology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong, China
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Department of Functional Genomics and Experimental Pathology, “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuta” Oncology Institute, 400015 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribution equally.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7688;
Received: 26 August 2020 / Revised: 4 October 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Vesicles: Biology and Potentials in Cancer Therapeutics)
Communications among cells can be achieved either via direct interactions or via secretion of soluble factors. The emergence of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as entities that play key roles in cell-to-cell communication offer opportunities in exploring their features for use in therapeutics; i.e., management and treatment of various pathologies, such as those used for cancer. The potential use of EVs as therapeutic agents is attributed not only for their cell membrane-bound components, but also for their cargos, mostly bioactive molecules, wherein the former regulate interactions with a recipient cell while the latter trigger cellular functions/molecular mechanisms of a recipient cell. In this article, we highlight the involvement of EVs in hallmarks of a cancer cell, particularly focusing on those molecular processes that are influenced by EV cargos. Moreover, we explored the roles of RNA species and proteins carried by EVs in eliciting drug resistance phenotypes. Interestingly, engineered EVs have been investigated and proposed as therapeutic agents in various in vivo and in vitro studies, as well as in several clinical trials. View Full-Text
Keywords: extracellular vesicles; cancer; therapeutic agents; cell-to-cell communication extracellular vesicles; cancer; therapeutic agents; cell-to-cell communication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jurj, A.; Pop-Bica, C.; Slaby, O.; Ştefan, C.D.; C. Cho, W.; Korban, S.S.; Berindan-Neagoe, I. Tiny Actors in the Big Cellular World: Extracellular Vesicles Playing Critical Roles in Cancer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 7688.

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