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Extracellular Vesicles and Cancer: A Focus on Metabolism, Cytokines, and Immunity

Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Roma, Italy
Institute of General Pathology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 00168 Roma, Italy
Centro di Riferimento Oncologico della Basilicata (IRCCS-CROB), Rionero in Vulture, 85028 Potenza, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 171;
Received: 24 November 2019 / Revised: 29 December 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2020 / Published: 10 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Vesicles in Cancer Progression and Drug Resistance)
A better understanding of the mechanisms of cell communication between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment is crucial to develop personalized therapies. It has been known for a while that cancer cells are metabolically distinct from other non-transformed cells. This metabolic phenotype is not peculiar to cancer cells but reflects the characteristics of the tumor microenvironment. Recently, it has been shown that extracellular vesicles are involved in the metabolic switch occurring in cancer and tumor-stroma cells. Moreover, in an immune system, the metabolic programs of different cell subsets are distinctly associated with their immunological function, and extracellular vesicles could be a key factor in the shift of cell fate modulating cancer immunity. Indeed, during tumor progression, tumor-associated immune cells and fibroblasts acquire a tumor-supportive and anti-inflammatory phenotype due to their interaction with tumor cells and several findings suggest a role of extracellular vesicles in this phenomenon. This review aims to collect all the available evidence so far obtained on the role of extracellular vesicles in the modulation of cell metabolism and immunity. Moreover, we discuss the possibility for extracellular vesicles of being involved in drug resistance mechanisms, cancer progression and metastasis by inducing immune-metabolic effects on surrounding cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: extracellular vesicles; immune cells; cytokines; metabolism; tumor microenvironment extracellular vesicles; immune cells; cytokines; metabolism; tumor microenvironment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lucchetti, D.; Ricciardi Tenore, C.; Colella, F.; Sgambato, A. Extracellular Vesicles and Cancer: A Focus on Metabolism, Cytokines, and Immunity. Cancers 2020, 12, 171.

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