Despite considerable research efforts, the finding of reliable tumor biomarkers remains challenging and unresolved. In recent years a novel diagnostic biomedical tool with high potential has been identified in extracellular nanovesicles or exosomes. They are released by the majority of the cells and contain detailed molecular information on the cell of origin including tumor hallmarks. Exosomes can be isolated from easy accessible body fluids, and most importantly, they can at once provide with several biomarkers, with different levels of specificity. Recent clinical evidence shows that the levels of exosomes released into body fluids may by themselves represent a predictive/diagnostic of tumors, discriminating cancer patients from healthy subjects. The aim of this review is to highlight these latest challenging findings to provide novel and groundbreaking ideas for successful tumor early diagnosis and follow-up.Graphical Abstract
Exosomes as diagnostic tools. Starting from the patient (center of the figure), exosomes measurement in plasma can be useful for early diagnosis and follow-up of virtually every type of cancer (left side). Exosomes obtained from primary tumor cell cultures may be used as valuable controls in terms of expression of tumor biomarkers (right side).