INTRODUCTION: Exosomes (EXOs) and ectosomes (ECTOs) are nanoscale membranous extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from different cells mediating various cellular communications. EXOs are liberated based on the exocytosis of multivesicular bodies, while ECTOs are ubiquitously released from the plasma membranes.
METHODS: Here, in this paper, we go over the extracellular vesicular machineries and concisely highlight their clinical importance in solid tumors and their possible applications in cancer immunotherapy/vaccination.
RESULTS: In various types of cancers, these vesicles play central roles delivering cancer cell messages to the target cells, as a result both of them seem to provide a novel useful means for diagnosis and therapy of malignancies. Dendritic cell-derived exosomes (DEXOs) are able to activate the tumor antigen-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) and hence induce antitumor responses in vivo. Within the tumor microenvironment (TME), however, tumor cells seem to generate exosomes (the so-called oncosoems) that may act in favor of tumor progression.
CONCLUSIONS: As complex systems, these vesicular micro-/nano-machines convey important cellular messages dependent upon the cells/tissue setting(s). In addition to their potential in diagnosis of cancers, they have been exploited for cancer immunotherapy/vaccination. However, such treatment strategies need to be carefully designed to attain desired clinical outcomes.