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Cancers 2017, 9(7), 71;

Exosomal MicroRNAs in Breast Cancer towards Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications

Center for Cancer and Cell Biology, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA
Comprehensive Breast Center, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA
Department of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Molecular Immunology, University of Southern California-Keck School of Medicine Norris Comprehensive, Cancer Center Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Takahiro Ochiya and Ryou-u Takahashi
Received: 20 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [223 KB, uploaded 30 June 2017]


Soon after the discovery of microRNAs over 15 years ago, a myriad of research groups around the world sought to develop clinical applications in breast cancer for these short, noncoding, regulatory RNAs. While little of this knowledge has translated into the clinic, the recent research explosion on cell-to-cell communication via exosomes and other extracellular vesicles has rekindled interest in microRNA-based clinical applications. microRNAs appear to be a preferential and important cargo of exosomes in mediating biological effects in recipient cells. This review highlights recent studies on the biology of exosomal microRNAs (exo-miRNAs) and discusses potential clinical applications. From a diagnostic perspective, circulating exo-miRNAs may represent breast cancer cell content and/or tumor microenvironmental reactions to cancer cell growth. Thus, serum or plasma analysis of exo-miRNAs could be useful for early disease detection or for monitoring treatment response and disease progression. From a therapeutic perspective, exo-miRNAs derived from different cell types have been implicated in supporting or restraining tumor growth, conferring drug resistance, and preparing the metastatic niche. Strategies to interfere with the loading or delivery of tumor-promoting exo-miRNAs or to replenish tumor-suppressive miRNAs via exosomal delivery are under investigation. These recent studies provide new hope and opportunities, but study design limitations and technical challenges will need to be overcome before seriously considering clinical application of exo-miRNAs. View Full-Text
Keywords: microRNA; miRNA; miR; exosome; exosomal; extracellular vesicle; breast cancer; serum; plasma; blood microRNA; miRNA; miR; exosome; exosomal; extracellular vesicle; breast cancer; serum; plasma; blood
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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Sempere, L.F.; Keto, J.; Fabbri, M. Exosomal MicroRNAs in Breast Cancer towards Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications. Cancers 2017, 9, 71.

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