Exosomes: Emerging biomarkers and targets for ovarian cancer

Cancer Lett. 2015 Oct 10;367(1):26-33. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2015.07.014. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


The limitations of current chemotherapies have motivated research in developing new treatments. Growing evidence shows that interaction between tumors and their microenvironment, but not tumor cells per se, is the key factor in tumor progression and therefore of obvious scientific interest and therapeutic value. Exosomes are small (30-100 nm) extracellular vesicles which have emerged as key mediators of intercellular communication between tumor cells and major cell types in the tumor microenvironment such as fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and immune cells as well as noncellular extracellular matrices through paracrine mechanisms. This review is to highlight the emerging role of exosomes in particular types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer, owing to its unique route of metastasis, which is capable of rapidly translating exosome research for clinical applications in diagnosis, prognosis, and potential treatment.

Keywords: Exosomes; Ovarian cancer; Protein; RNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Drug Design
  • Exosomes / drug effects
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Exosomes / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Signal Transduction
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor