Exosome-based Tumor Therapy: Opportunities and Challenges

Author(s): Chunmei Li, Xiaoming Hou, Peng Zhang, Juan Li, Xiaoguang Liu, Yuping Wang, Quanlin Guan, Yongning Zhou*

Journal Name: Current Drug Metabolism

Volume 21 , Issue 5 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Exosomes play an important role in transferring information among different cell types, as they transport materials from the cell membrane to the cytoplasm. They are involved not only in normal physiological functions, but also in the occurrence and development of a variety of diseases. Cancer is a major health problem affecting humans. Currently, exosomes are considered novel stars in tumor therapy.

Objective: To present a review focusing on the role of exosomes in tumorigenesis and development and the possibility of treating tumors with exosome-targeted therapies or using exosomes as carriers.

Methods: We reviewed literature related to the biological origin and function of exosomes and exosome-tumor relationship.

Results: Exosomes are closely related to tumor immunity, angiogenesis, pre-metastasis microenvironment, chemoresistance, energy metabolism, etc. Tumor therapy involving the targeting of exosomes involves block the generation, secretion, uptake of exosomes, and elimination of circulating exosomes, and develop antitumor vaccines. Exosome as delivery vehicles can be loaded with chemotherapeutic drugs, therapeutic genes, and other therapeutic drugs to target cells. Prospects and challenges of exosome-based tumor therapy are also discussed.

Conclusion: Exosomes are involved in multiple processes during tumor development and should be further studied as novel targets for cancer therapy.

Keywords: Exosomes, delivery vehicles, cancer therapy, chemotherapy, gene therapy, vaccines.

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