Tumor-derived exosomal non-coding RNAs as diagnostic biomarkers in cancer

Nasim Ebrahimi, Ferdos Faghihkhorasani, Siavash Seifollahy Fakhr, Parichehr Roozbahani Moghaddam, Elnaz Yazdani, Zahra Kheradmand, Fatemeh Rezaei-Tazangi, Samaneh Adelian, Halimeh Mobarak, Michael R. Hamblin, Amir Reza Aref

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Almost all clinical oncologists agree that the discovery of reliable, accessible, and non-invasive biomarkers is necessary to decrease cancer mortality. It is possible to employ reliable biomarkers to diagnose cancer in the early stages, predict the patient prognosis, follow up the response to treatment, and estimate the risk of disease recurrence with high sensitivity and specificity. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), especially exosomes, have been the focus of translational research to develop such biomarkers over the past decade. The abundance and distribution of exosomes in bodily fluids, including serum, saliva, and urine, as well as their ability to transport various biomolecules (nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids) derived from their parent cells, make exosomes reliable, accessible, and potent biomarkers for diagnosis and follow-up of solid and hematopoietic tumors. In addition, exosomes play a vital role in various cellular processes, including tumor progression, by participating in intercellular communication. Although these advantages underline the high potential of tumor-derived exosomes as diagnostic biomarkers, the lack of standardized effective methods for their isolation, identification, and precise characterization makes their application challenging in clinical settings. We discuss the importance of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in cellular processes, and the role of tumor-derived exosomes containing ncRNAs as potential biomarkers in several types of cancer. In addition, the advantages and challenges of these studies for translation into clinical applications are covered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Cancer prognosis
  • Diagnostic biomarkers
  • Early diagnosis
  • Non-coding RNAs
  • Tumor-derived exosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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