Role of exosomes in tumour growth, chemoresistance and immunity: state-of-the-art

Seyedeh Maryam Hosseinikhah, Fatemeh Gheybi, Seyedeh Alia Moosavian, Mohammad Ali Shahbazi, Mahmoud Reza Jaafari, Mika Sillanpää, Prashant Kesharwani, Seyedeh Hoda Alavizadeh, Amirhossein Sahebkar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is one of the most lethal diseases, and limited available treatment options contribute to its high mortality rate. Exosomes are considered membrane-bound nanovesicles that include different molecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Virtually most cells could release exosomes via exocytosis in physiological and pathological conditions. Tumour-derived exosomes (TDEs) play essential roles in tumorigenesis, proliferation, progression, metastasis, immune escape, and chemoresistance by transferring functional biological cargos, triggering different autocrine, and paracrine signalling cascades. Due to their antigen-presenting properties, exosomes are widely used as biomarkers and drug carriers and have a prominent role in cancer immunotherapy. They offer various advantages in carrier systems (e.g. in chemotherapy, siRNA, and miRNA), delivery of diagnostic agents owing to their stability, loading of hydrophobic and hydrophilic agents, and drug targeting. Novel exosomes-based carriers can be generated as intelligent systems using various sources and crosslinking chemistry extracellular vesicles (EVs). Exosomes studded with targeting ligands, including peptides, can impart in targeted delivery of cargos to tumour cells. In this review, we comprehensively summarised the important role of tumour-derived exosomes in dictating cancer pathogenesis and resistance to therapy. We have therefore, investigated in further detail the pivotal role of tumour-derived exosomes in targeting various cancer cells and their applications, and prospects in cancer therapy and diagnosis. Additionally, we have implicated the potential utility and significance of tumour exosomes-based nanoparticles as an efficient and novel therapeutic carrier and their applications in treating advanced cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-50
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Drug Targeting
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Tumour-derived exosomes
  • chemoresistance
  • diagnosis
  • drug delivery
  • immunomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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