Extracellular vesicles swarm the cancer microenvironment: from tumor-stroma communication to drug intervention

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Abstract

Intercellular communication sets the pace for transformed cells to survive and to thrive. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes, microvesicles and large oncosomes, are involved in this process shuttling reciprocal signals and other molecules between transformed and stromal cells, including fibroblasts, endothelial and immune cells. As a result, these cells are adapted or recruited to a constantly evolving cancer microenvironment. Moreover, EVs take part in the response to anticancer therapeutics not least by promoting drug resistance throughout the targeted tumor. Finally, circulating EVs can also transport important molecules to remote destinations in order to prime metastatic niches in an otherwise healthy tissue. Although the understanding of EV biology remains a major challenge in the field, their characteristics create new opportunities for advances in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.

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