Biogenesis of extracellular vesicles (EV): exosomes, microvesicles, retrovirus-like vesicles, and apoptotic bodies

J Neurooncol. 2013 May;113(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s11060-013-1084-8. Epub 2013 Mar 2.


Recent studies suggest both normal and cancerous cells secrete vesicles into the extracellular space. These extracellular vesicles (EVs) contain materials that mirror the genetic and proteomic content of the secreting cell. The identification of cancer-specific material in EVs isolated from the biofluids (e.g., serum, cerebrospinal fluid, urine) of cancer patients suggests EVs as an attractive platform for biomarker development. It is important to recognize that the EVs derived from clinical samples are likely highly heterogeneous in make-up and arose from diverse sets of biologic processes. This article aims to review the biologic processes that give rise to various types of EVs, including exosomes, microvesicles, retrovirus like particles, and apoptotic bodies. Clinical pertinence of these EVs to neuro-oncology will also be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis* / physiology
  • Biomarkers*
  • Exosomes*
  • Humans
  • Retroviridae


  • Biomarkers