Exosomes – Novel markers for cancer diagnosis


Exosomes are lipid-bilayer-enclosed extracellular vesicles in bodily fluids. The composition of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipid in exosomes is reflective of cell functions and conditions. An increasing number of exosomal proteins have been found to be potential biomarkers for cancers and other diseases.

Exosomes play a vital role in cellular signaling in both normal physiology and disease states, particularly cancer. Exosomes are powerful progenitors in altering target cell phenotypes, particularly in tumorigenesis and cancer progression, with the ability to alter tumor microenvironments and to assist in establishing the pre-metastatic niche. Many aspects of exosomes present them as novel means to identify cancer biomarkers for early detection and therapeutic targets, and using intrinsic and engineered characteristics of exosomes as therapeutic devices to ameliorate the progression of the disease.

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Summary of potential exosomal markers for diagnostic applications

Biofluid Disease Associated proteins
Pancreatic cancer
Prostate cancer
Bladder cancer
Prostate cancer
Plasma, cell culture
medium, and ascites
Human ovarian cancer
L1CAM, CD24, ADAM10, EMMPRIN, claudin


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