Extracellular vesicles in pancreatic cancer progression and therapies

Cell Death Dis. 2021 Oct 20;12(11):973. doi: 10.1038/s41419-021-04258-7.


Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide due to delayed diagnosis and limited treatments. More than 90% of all pancreatic cancers are pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Extensive communication between tumour cells and other cell types in the tumour microenvironment have been identified which regulate cancer hallmarks during pancreatic tumorigenesis via secretory factors and extracellular vesicles (EVs). The EV-capsuled factors not only facilitate tumour growth locally, but also enter circulation and reach distant organs to construct a pre-metastatic niche. In this review, we delineate the key factors in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma derived EVs that mediate different tumour processes. Also, we highlight the factors that are related to the crosstalk with cancer stem cells/cancer-initiating cells (CSC/CIC), the subpopulation of cancer cells that can efficiently metastasize and resist currently used chemotherapies. Lastly, we discuss the potential of EV-capsuled factors in early diagnosis and antitumour therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

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