Microparticles in cancer: A review of recent developments and the potential for clinical application

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 2015, 40 pp. 35 - 40
Issue Date:
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© 2015 . Once thought of as inert remnants of cellular processes, the significance of membrane vesicles is now expanding as their capacity to package and transfer bioactive molecules during intercellular communication is established. This ability to serve as vectors in the trafficking of cellular cargo is of mounting interest in the context of cancer, particularly in the dissemination of deleterious cancer traits from donor cells to recipient cells. Although microparticles (MPs) contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer, their unique characteristics can also be exploited in the context of cancer management. The detection of MPs in body fluids has the potential to provide an effective means for the diagnosis, prognosis and surveillance of cancer patients. The use of these readily accessible systemic biomarkers has the potential to circumvent the need for invasive biopsy procedures. In addition, the autologous nature of MPs may allow them to be used as novel drug delivery carriers. Consequently, the modulation of MP vesiculation to treat disease, the detection of MPs in disease monitoring, and the application of MPs as therapeutic delivery vehicles present prospective clinical interventions in the treatment of cancer.
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