The functions and clinical applications of tumor-derived exosomes

Yingkuan Shao, Yanwei Shen, Ting Chen, Fei Xu, Xuewen Chen and Shu Zheng _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:60736-60751. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11177

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Yingkuan Shao1, Yanwei Shen1, Ting Chen1, Fei Xu1, Xuewen Chen2 and Shu Zheng1

1 Cancer Institute (Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Intervention, China National Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Medical Sciences, Zhejiang Province, China), The Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

2 Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America

Correspondence to:

Shu Zheng, email:

Keywords: exosomes, solid tumor, metastasis, immunoregulation, clinical applications

Received: May16, 2016 Accepted: July 13, 2016 Published: August 10, 2016


Exosomes are extracellular vesicles with diameters ranging from 30 to 150 nm. They can be secreted by all cell types and transfer information in the form of their contents, which include proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, to other cells throughout the body. They have roles in normal physiological processes as well as in disease development. Here, we review recent findings regarding tumor-derived exosomes, including methods for their extraction and preservation. We also describe the actions of exosomes in tumorigenesis. The exosomal antigen-presenting effect during antitumor immune responses and its suppressive function in immune tolerance are discussed. Finally, we describe the potential application of exosomes to cancer therapy and liquid biopsy.

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