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Exosome as a target for cancer treatment
  1. Samira Nafar1,
  2. Negar Nouri2,
  3. Maedeh Alipour3,
  4. Jafar Fallahi4,
  5. Fateme Zare5,
  6. Seyed Mohammad Bagher Tabei6
  1. 1 Department of Genetics, Shiraz University of Medical Science, Shiraz, Iran
  2. 2 Student Research Committee, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Science, Yazd, Iran
  3. 3 MSc of Hematology and Blood Bank, Diagnostic Laboratory Sciences and Technology Research Center, School of Paramedical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  4. 4 Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Advanced Medical Sciences and Technologies, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  5. 5 Reproductive Immunology Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
  6. 6 Maternal-fetal Medicine Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  1. Correspondence to Dr Seyed Mohammad Bagher Tabei, School of Medicine, Imam Hussain Square, Shiraz, Iran; mtabei63{at}


Exosomes are small vesicles covered by a lipid bilayer, ranging in size from 50 nm to 90 nm, secreted by different cell types in the body under normal and pathological conditions. They are surrounded by cell-segregated membrane complexes and play a role in the pathological and physiological environments of target cells by transfer of different molecules such as microRNA (miRNA). Exosomes have been detected in many body fluids, such as in the amniotic fluid, urine, breast milk, blood, saliva, ascites, semen, and bile. They include proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids such as DNA, RNA, and miRNA, which have many functions in target cells under pathological and physiological conditions. They participate in pathological processes such as tumor growth and survival, autoimmunity, neurodegenerative disorders, infectious diseases, inflammation conditions, and others. Biomarkers in exosomes isolated from body fluids have allowed for a more precise and consistent diagnostic method than previous approaches. Exosomes can be used in a variety of intracellular functions, and with advances in molecular techniques they can be used in the treatment and diagnosis of many diseases, including cancer. These vesicles play a significant role in various stages of cancer. Tumor-derived exosomes have an important role in tumor growth, survival, and metastasis. In contrast, the use of stem cells in cancer treatment is a relatively new scientific area. We hope to address targeted use of miRNA-carrying exosomes in cancer therapy in this review paper.

  • stem cells
  • body fluids
  • cell death

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  • Contributors SN, NN, MA, JF, and SMBT designed the study. SN, NN, and MA collected the data and drafted the manuscript. JF, SMBT, and FZ revised the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.