Exosome encapsulated ncRNAs in the development of HCC: potential circulatory biomarkers and clinical therapeutic targets

Am J Cancer Res. 2021 Aug 15;11(8):3794-3812. eCollection 2021.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most deadly malignant cancer in the world and has the third highest mortality rate among cancer-related deaths worldwide. Its poor prognosis can be attributed to late diagnosis, high risk of recurrence and drug resistance. Therefore, finding a new biomarker to help us in the early diagnosis, and exploring the molecular mechanisms involved in recurrence and drug resistance is a reasonable research direction for clinical treatment of HCC. At present, the exosomes related to HCC have been confirmed to carry ncRNAs, transfer them to target cells, and bind corresponding target molecules. Furthermore, they affect the proliferation and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma by promoting angiogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and inhibiting the function of the body's immune system. They play an important role in the recurrence and resistance of HCC. Besides, exosomes are stably expressed in body fluids such as sera, are easy to collect and cause little harm to the human body. They are the best candidates for liquid biopsy. Therefore, exosomal ncRNAs have application prospects as biomarkers and targeted molecules for therapy. This article summarizes the current research involving ncRNAs in HCC-related exosomes.

Keywords: Exosomes; HCC; biomarker; ncRNAs; targeted molecules.

Publication types

  • Review