What role do exosomes play in cancer?
Exosomes are secreted into the extracellular space and can transfer biologically active molecules (proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids) to recipient cancer cells (or vice versa).
Tumor-derived exosomes can modulate multiple functions in surrounding stromal cells (fibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells) promoting their activation, angiogenesis and metastatic processes. These extracellular vesicles are reported to play significant roles in promoting and regulating cancer progression.
A better understanding of exosomal protein content combined with the investigation of their functional effects on cancer cells can provide novel insights on the complex molecular interactions underlying stromal-tumor crosstalk and help to clarify the role they play in regulating carcinogenesis.