Exosome-derived noncoding RNAs in gastric cancer: functions and clinical applications

Mol Cancer. 2021 Jul 30;20(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s12943-021-01396-6.


Exosomes are a subpopulation of the tumour microenvironment (TME) that transmit various biological molecules to promote intercellular communication. Exosomes are derived from nearly all types of cells and exist in all body fluids. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are among the most abundant contents in exosomes, and some ncRNAs with biological functions are specifically packaged into exosomes. Recent studies have revealed that exosome-derived ncRNAs play crucial roles in the tumorigenesis, progression and drug resistance of gastric cancer (GC). In addition, regulating the expression levels of exosomal ncRNAs can promote or suppress GC progression. Moreover, the membrane structures of exosomes protect ncRNAs from degradation by enzymes and other chemical substances, significantly increasing the stability of exosomal ncRNAs. Specific hallmarks within exosomes that can be used for exosome identification, and specific contents can be used to determine their origin. Therefore, exosomal ncRNAs are suitable for use as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers or therapeutic targets. Regulating the biogenesis of exosomes and the expression levels of exosomal ncRNAs may represent a new way to block or eradicate GC. In this review, we summarized the origins and characteristics of exosomes and analysed the association between exosomal ncRNAs and GC development.

Keywords: Biomarker; Exosome; Gastric cancer; Progression; ncRNA.

Publication types

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