Tumor-derived exosomes in ovarian cancer – liquid biopsies for early detection and real-time monitoring of cancer progression

Shayna Sharma, Felipe Zuñiga, Gregory E. Rice, Lewis C. Perrin, John D. Hooper and Carlos Salomon _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:104687-104703. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22191

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Shayna Sharma1, Felipe Zuñiga2, Gregory E. Rice1,3, Lewis C. Perrin4,5,6, John D. Hooper5,6 and Carlos Salomon1,2,3,5

1Exosome Biology Laboratory, Centre for Clinical Diagnostics, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Faculty of Medicine + Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

2Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Concepción, Concepción, Chile

3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ochsner Baptist Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

4Mater Health Services, South Brisbane, Australia

5Mater Research Institute, University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba, Australia

6Mater Ovarian Cancer Research Collaborative, Mater Adult Hospital, South Brisbane, Australia

Correspondence to:

Carlos Salomon, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ovarian cancer; exosomes; biomarkers; early detection

Received: June 16, 2017    Accepted: September 08, 2017    Published: October 31, 2017


Ovarian cancer usually has a poor prognosis because it predominantly presents as high stage disease. New approaches are required to develop more effective early detection strategies and real-time treatment response monitoring. Nano-sized extracellular vesicles (EVs, including exosomes) may provide an approach to enrich tumor biomarker detection and address this clinical need. Exosomes are membranous extracellular vesicles of approximately 100 nm in diameter that have potential to be used as biomarkers and therapeutic delivery tools for ovarian cancer. Exosomal content (proteins and miRNA) is often parent cell specific thus providing an insight or “fingerprint” of the intracellular environment. Furthermore, exosomes can aid cell-cell communication and have the ability to modify target cells by transferring their content. Additionally, via the capacity to evade the immune system and remain stable over long periods in circulation, exosomes have potential as natural drug agents. This review examines the potential role of exosomes in diagnosis, drug delivery and real-time monitoring in ovarian cancer.

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