Extracellular vesicles as a source of prostate cancer biomarkers in liquid biopsies: a decade of research

Manuel Ramirez-Garrastacho, Cristina Bajo-Santos, Aija Line, Elena S. Martens-Uzunova, Jesus Martinez de la Fuente, Maria Moros, Carolina Soekmadji, Kristin Austlid Tasken, Alicia Llorente

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Prostate cancer is a global cancer burden and considerable effort has been made through the years to identify biomarkers for the disease. Approximately a decade ago, the potential of analysing extracellular vesicles in liquid biopsies started to be envisaged. This was the beginning of a new exciting area of research investigating the rich molecular treasure found in extracellular vesicles to identify biomarkers for a variety of diseases. Vesicles released from prostate cancer cells and cells of the tumour microenvironment carry molecular information about the disease that can be analysed in several biological fluids. Numerous studies document the interest of researchers in this field of research. However, methodological issues such as the isolation of vesicles have been challenging. Remarkably, novel technologies, including those based on nanotechnology, show promise for the further development and clinical use of extracellular vesicles as liquid biomarkers. Development of biomarkers is a long and complicated process, and there are still not many biomarkers based on extracellular vesicles in clinical use. However, the knowledge acquired during the last decade constitutes a solid basis for the future development of liquid biopsy tests for prostate cancer. These are urgently needed to bring prostate cancer treatment to the next level in precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-350
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Early online dateNov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the TRANSCAN2-JTC2016 call (Project PROSCANEXO), The South-Eastern Norwegian Regional Health Authority, The Norwegian Cancer Society and The Research Council of Norway and the Latvian Council of Science grant No. lzp-2018/0269. CS was supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs through the US Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Prostate Cancer Research Program Idea Development Award [Number: W81XWH-16-1-0736]. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the DoD.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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