Exosome-Mediated Metastasis: Communication from a Distance

Dev Cell. 2019 May 6;49(3):347-360. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.04.011.


Metastasis, a critical phase of tumor progression, remains a primary challenge in treating cancer and a major cause of cancer mortality. Cell-cell communication via extracellular vesicles (exosomes and microvesicles) between primary tumor cells and the microenvironment of distant organs is crucial for pre-metastatic niche (PMN) formation and metastasis. Here, we review work on the contribution of exosome cargo to cancer progression, the role of exosomes in PMN establishment, and the function of exosomes in organotropic metastasis. We also describe the clinical utility of exosomes.

Keywords: bone-marrow-derived cell; cancer; exosome; extracellular matrix; extracellular vesicle; immune cell; integrins; intercellular communication; metastasis; microvesicle; pre-metastatic niche; vascular leakiness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Disease Progression
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Exosomes / pathology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment