Current Issues of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

The role of tumor-derived exosomes in tumor angiogenesis and tumor progression

Curr Issues Pharm Med Sci., Vol. 32, No. 4, 193-202

Alicja Gluszko1, Shafaq M. Mirza1, Katarzyna Piszczatowska1
Ireneusz Kantor2, Marta Struga1, Miroslaw J. Szczepanski1,2*

1 Chair and Department of Biochemistry, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
2 Department of Otolaryngology, Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, Warsaw, Poland


Exosomes, belonging to the group of extracellular bodies, are released by healthy as well as cancerous cells and serve as a communication pathway. Tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) possess the capacity to reprogram the function of normal cells owing to their genetic and molecular cargo. Such exosomes target endothelial cells (among others) in the tumor microenvironment to promote angiogenesis. Blood supply is essential in solid tumor growth and metastasis. The potential of pro-angiogenic changes is enhanced by an increased amount of circulating tumor-derived exosomes in the body fluids of cancer patients. A vascular network is important, since the proliferation, as well as the metastatic spread of cancer cells depends on an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, and the removal of waste products. New blood vessels and lymphatic vessels are formed through processes called angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, respectively. Angiogenesis is regulated by both activator and inhibitor molecules. Thousands of patients have received anti-angiogenic therapy to date. Despite their theoretical efficacy, anti-angiogenic treatments have not proved beneficial in terms of long-term survival. Tumor-derived exosomes carrying pro-angiogenic factors might be a target for new anti-cancer therapy.


tumor-derived exosomes, angiogenesis, endothelial cells, hypoxia.


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