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Front. Oncol. | doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00125

Intercellular vesicular transfer by exosomes, microparticles and oncosomes - implications for cancer biology and treatment.

  • 1Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • 2Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Intercellular communication is a normal feature of most physiological interactions between cells in healthy organisms. While cells communicate directly through intimate physiology contact, other mechanisms of communication exist, such as through the influence of soluble mediators such as growth factors, cytokines and chemokines. There is, however, yet another mechanisms of intercellular communication that permits the exchange of information between cells through extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are microscopic (50 nm -10 μM) phospholipid bilayer enclosed entities produced by virtually all eukaryotic cells. EVs are abundant in the intracellular space and are present at a cells’ normal microenvironment. Irrespective of the EV ‘donor’ cell type, or the mechanism of EV biogenesis and production, or the size and EV composition, cancer cells have the potential to utilize EVs in a manner that enhances their survival. For example, cancer cell EV overproduction confers benefits to tumor growth, and tumor metastasis, compared with neighbouring healthy cells. Herein, we summarize the current status of knowledge on different populations of EVs. We review the situations that regulate EV release, and the factors that instruct differential packaging or sorting of EV content. We then highlight the functions of cancer-cell derived EVs as they impact on cancer outcomes, promoting tumor progression, metastases, and the mechanisms by which they facilitate the creation of a pre-metastatic niche. The review finishes by focusing on the beneficial features of tumor-derived EVs that can be adapted and utilized for cancer treatments, including those already being investigated in human clinical trials.

Keywords: Microparticles (MP), Microvessicles, Extracellular vessicles (EV), Large oncosomes (LO), vesicular transfer, Cancer Biology*, Cancer immunology and immunotherapy

Received: 07 Nov 2018; Accepted: 12 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Andreas Pircher, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria

Reviewed by:

Lucas TREPS, Vesalius Research Center
Yu Fujita, Jikei University School of Medicine, Japan  

Copyright: © 2019 Jaiswal and Sedger. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Lisa M. Sedger, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, 2007, New South Wales, Australia,