Extracellular vesicles and their diagnostic and prognostic potential in cancer
Various cell types release extracellular vesicles (EVs), known as exosomes and microvesicles, which facilitate cell-to-cell communication by transferring proteins and nucleic acids to target cells and tissues. Tumor-derived EVs can modify the tumor microenvironment, and can promote cancer progression and metastasis. Owing to their tissue-specific origin, their ability to reflect cancer status and progression, and their excellent stability in body fluids, tumor-derived EVs have received significant attention as a potential source of minimally invasive biomarkers. In this review, we discuss the strategies for isolating and characterizing EVs, introducing both well-established and newly developed methods, and emphasizing rigorous, recently published comparative studies. We also discuss recent advances in understanding the clinical utility of EV proteins and nucleic acids, including EV miRNAs, in cancer diagnosis and prognosis.