Exosomes play an important role in cell-to-cell communication to promote tumor metastasis. In order to image the fate of cancer-cell-derived exosomes in orthotopic nude mouse models of breast cancer, we used green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged CD63, which is a general marker of exosomes. Breast cancer cells transferred their own exosomes to other cancer cells and normal lung tissue cells in culture. In orthotopic nude-mouse models, breast cancer cells secreted exosomes into the tumor microenvironment. Tumor-derived exosomes were incorporated into tumor-associated cells as well as circulating in the blood of mice with breast cancer metastases. These results suggest that tumor-derived exosomes may contribute to forming a niche to promote tumor growth and metastasis. Our results demonstrate the usefulness of GFP imaging to investigate the role of exosomes in cancer metastasis.
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