Extracellular Vesicle Dissemination of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Ligands and Its Role in Cancer Progression
Cancer Bio-Engineering Group, Tissue Engineering Research Group, Department of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, D02 YN77 Dublin, Ireland
School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, D02 YN77 Dublin, Ireland
National Children’s Research Centre, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, D12 8MGH Dublin, Ireland
Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Trinity College Dublin, D02 8QV2 Dublin, Ireland
Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research Centre (AMBER), RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and Trinity College Dublin, D02 8PVW Dublin, Ireland
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2020 / Revised: 23 October 2020 / Accepted: 27 October 2020 / Published: 30 October 2020
Overexpression of the transmembrane protein, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), drives tumour progression in several cancers including breast, lung, glioblastoma and head and neck cancers. In recent years, it has been shown that tumour cells can transfer EGFR to other tumour cells and non-tumour cells using extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are nano-sized vesicles secreted by cells and contain protein, RNA and DNA. The function of EVs is to send messages between cells which occurs in both healthy and diseased states. In this review, we will discuss how the transfer of EGFR and EGFR ligands by EVs in cancer can promote metastases, the formation of new tumour blood vessels and decrease the anti-tumour activity of immune cells. We will also discuss how EGFR contained in EVs can be used as a non-invasive diagnostic marker of cancer, and finally, how EVs can be re-engineered to promote targeting to EGFR expressing tumours.