Biogenesis and function of extracellular vesicles in cancer

Maarten P. Bebelman, Martine J. Smit, D. Michiel Pegtel, S. Rubina Baglio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are heterogeneous multi-signal messengers that support cancer growth and dissemination by mediating the tumor-stroma crosstalk. Exosomes are a subtype of EVs that originate from the limiting membrane of late endosomes, and as such contain information linked to both the intrinsic cell “state” and the extracellular signals cells received from their environment. Resolving the signals affecting exosome biogenesis, cargo sorting and release will increase our understanding of tumorigenesis. In this review we highlight key cell biological processes that couple exosome biogenesis to cargo sorting in cancer cells. Moreover, we discuss how the bidirectional communication between tumor and non-malignant cells affect cancer growth and metastatic behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Early online date21 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


This work has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 660200 (to S.R. Baglio). In addition, this work was supported by grants from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF, grant No 11065 ; to S.R. Baglio), and from the NWO-AIMMS STAR Graduate Programme (grant No 022.005.031; to M.P. Bebelman).

FundersFunder number
Dutch Cancer Society
Marie Sklodowska-Curie
NWO-AIMMS STAR022.005.031
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions660200
KWF Kankerbestrijding11065
Horizon 2020


    • Cargo sorting
    • Exosome biogenesis
    • Extracellular vesicles
    • Tumor microenvironment
    • Tumor-stroma communication


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