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Exosomes: Potential in Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Vermont, College of Medicine, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Daniel M.-Y. Sze and William Chi-shing Cho
Medicines 2015, 2(4), 310-327;
Received: 24 September 2015 / Revised: 20 October 2015 / Accepted: 26 October 2015 / Published: 2 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advance in Targeted Therapy in Medicine)
PDF [2021 KB, uploaded 2 November 2015]


Exosomes are membrane-bound, intercellular communication shuttles that are defined by their endocytic origin and size range of 30–140 nm. Secreted by nearly all mammalian cell types and present in myriad bodily fluids, exosomes confer messages between cells, proximal and distal, by transporting biofunctional cargo in the form of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. They play a vital role in cellular signaling in both normal physiology and disease states, particularly cancer. Exosomes are powerful progenitors in altering target cell phenotypes, particularly in tumorigenesis and cancer progression, with the ability to alter tumor microenvironments and to assist in establishing the pre-metastatic niche. Many aspects of exosomes present them as novel means to identify cancer biomarkers for early detection and therapeutic targets, and using intrinsic and engineered characteristics of exosomes as therapeutic devices to ameliorate the progression of the disease. This review outlines some of the recent and major findings with regard to exosomes in cancer, and their utilization as therapeutic tools. View Full-Text
Keywords: exosomes; cancer; therapy; biomarkers; tumor microenvironment; pre-metastatic niche exosomes; cancer; therapy; biomarkers; tumor microenvironment; pre-metastatic niche

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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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Munson, P.; Shukla, A. Exosomes: Potential in Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy. Medicines 2015, 2, 310-327.

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