The role of exosomes in breast cancer: What have we learned in ten years?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Although the existence of exosomes has been known for about a decade, it was not until recently that their role as drivers of cancer and their role in restructuring the tumor microenvironment has been demonstrated. Exosomes are extracellular vesicles ranging from 30-100 nanometers in size that have been shown to be produced and released by different cell types. Additionally, exosomes contain material specific to the cell type from which they were released, facilitating backtracking to the tissue of origin. Mounting evidence shows that exosomes play a crucial role in cancer and assist in cell-to-cell communication by transporting nucleic acids and proteins. Intercellular communication between tumor cells and the microenvironment is critical to the growth and progression of the malignant phenotype. This communication can influence the aggressiveness and invasive potential of the cancer. Recent studies have reported that exosomes facilitate tumorigenesis and metastasis in breast cancer. In this review, we will describe how the last decade has contributed to our understanding of the function of exosomes in the progression of breast cancer. Furthermore, we will discuss the implications for using exosomes from body fluids as biomarkers in diagnosis and treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTriple-Negative Breast Cancer
Subtitle of host publicationBiomarkers, Emerging Therapeutic Strategies and Clinical Challenges
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages62
ISBN (Electronic)9781536123906
ISBN (Print)9781536123722
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Exosomes
  • Invasion
  • Metastasis


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