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The biology and function of exosomes in cancer.

The Journal of clinical investigation

American Society for Clinical Investigation

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      Abstract

      Humans circulate quadrillions of exosomes at all times. Exosomes are a class of extracellular vesicles released by all cells, with a size range of 40-150 nm and a lipid bilayer membrane. Exosomes contain DNA, RNA, and proteins. Exosomes likely remove excess and/or unnecessary constituents from the cells, functioning like garbage bags, although their precise physiological role remains unknown. Additionally, exosomes may mediate specific cell-to-cell communication and activate signaling pathways in cells they fuse or interact with. Exosomes are detected in the tumor microenvironment, and emerging evidence suggests that they play a role in facilitating tumorigenesis by regulating angiogenesis, immunity, and metastasis. Circulating exosomes can be used as liquid biopsies and noninvasive biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer patients.

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      Author and article information

      Journal
      J. Clin. Invest.
      The Journal of clinical investigation
      American Society for Clinical Investigation
      1558-8238
      0021-9738
      Apr 01 2016
      : 126
      : 4
      27035812 81135 10.1172/JCI81135 4811149

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