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Neuro-oncologic Applications of Exosomes, Microvesicles, and Other Nano-Sized Extracellular Particles

Gonda, David D. MD‡,§; Akers, Johnny C. PhD§; Kim, Ryan BS‡,§; Kalkanis, Steven N. MD; Hochberg, Fred H. MD; Chen, Clark C. MD, PhD*,‡,§; Carter, Bob S. MD, PhD*,‡,§

doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182846e63
Review: Editor's Choice
Editor's Choice
Press Release

The discovery that tumor-derived proteins and nucleic acids can be detected in nano-sized vesicles in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of patients afflicted with brain tumors has expanded opportunities for biomarker and therapeutic discovery. Through delivery of their contents to surrounding cells, exosomes, microvesicles, and other nano-sized extracellular vesicles secreted by tumors modulate their environment to promote tumor growth and survival. In this review, we discuss the biological processes mediated by these extracellular vesicles and their applications in terms of brain tumor diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. We review the normal physiology of these extracellular vesicles, their pertinence to tumor biology, and directions for research in this field.

ABBREVIATIONS: AMPA, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid

EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor

EGFRvIII, epidermal growth factor receptor variant III

EV, extracellular vesicle

GPCR, G-protein coupled receptor

miRNA, micro-RNA

MMP, matrix-degrading metalloproteinase

RVG, rabies viral glycoprotein

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Diego, California

§Center for Theoretic and Applied Neuro-oncology, University of California, San Diego, California

Department of Neurosurgery, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan

Pappas Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Correspondence: Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, 3855 Health Science Dr, No. 0987, La Jolla, CA 92093-0987. E-mail:

* These authors have contributed equally to this article as senior authors.

Received September 03, 2012

Accepted December 11, 2012

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons