Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are key mediators of intercellular communication that have been ignored for decades. Tumour cells benefit from the secretion of vesicles as they can influence the behaviour of neighbouring tumour cells within the tumour microenvironment. Several studies have shown that extracellular vesicles play an active role in pre-metastatic niche formation and importantly, they are involved in the metastatic organotropism of different tumour types. Tumour-derived EVs carry and transfer molecules to recipient cells, modifying their behaviour through a process defined as “EV-driven education”. EVs favour metastasis to sentinel lymph nodes and distal organs by reinforcing angiogenesis, inflammation and lymphangiogenesis. Hence, in this review we will summarize the main mechanisms by which tumour-derived EVs regulate lymph node and distal organ metastasis. Moreover, since some cancers metastasize through the lymphatic system, we will discuss recent discoveries about the presence and function of tumour EVs in the lymph. Finally, we will address the potential value of tumour EVs as prognostic biomarkers in liquid biopsies, specially blood and lymphatic fluid, and the use of these tools as early detectors of metastases.
Molecular Aspects of Medicine – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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