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Exosomes are fingerprints of originating cells: potential biomarkers for ovarian cancer

Authors Kobayashi M, Rice GE, Tapia J, Mitchell MD, Salomon C

Received 7 November 2014

Accepted for publication 13 January 2015

Published 18 March 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 101—109

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RRBC.S58281

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Nikolay Dokholyan

Miharu Kobayashi, Gregory E Rice, Jorge Tapia, Murray D Mitchell, Carlos Salomon

Exosome Biology Laboratory, Centre for Clinical Diagnostics, University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Abstract: The past decade has seen an extraordinary explosion of research in the field of extracellular vesicles, especially in a specific type of extracellular vesicles originating from endosomal compartments, called exosomes. Exosomes are a specific subtype of secreted vesicles that are defined as small (~30–120 nm) but very stable membrane vesicles that are released from a wide range of cells, including normal and cancer cells. As the content of exosomes is cell type specific, it is believed that they are a "fingerprint" of the releasing cell and its metabolic status. We hypothesized that the exosomes and their specific exosomal content (eg, microribonucleic acid) represent a precious biomedical tool and may be used as biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of malignant tumors. In addition, exosomes may modify the phenotype of the parent and/or target cell by transferring pro-oncogenic molecules to induce cancerous phenotype of recipient cells and contribute to the formation of the premetastatic niche. The mechanism involved in these phenomena remains unclear; however, inclusion of signaling mediators into exosomes or exosome release may reduce their intracellular bioavailability in the parent cell, thereby altering cell phenotype and their metastatic potential. The aim of this review therefore is to analyze the biogenesis and role of exosomes from tumor cells, focusing primarily on ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic cancer, and an effective early diagnosis has the potential to improve patient survival. Ovarian cancer currently lacks a reliable method for early detection, however, exosomes have received great attention as potential biomarkers and mediators of the disease.

Keywords: extracellular vesicles, exosomes, cancer, metastasis

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