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Emerging Evidence for the Clinical Relevance of Pancreatic Cancer Exosomes

Massoumi, Roxanne L., MD; Hines, O. Joe, MD; Eibl, Guido, MD; King, Jonathan C., MD

doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000001203

The last 5 years have seen a dramatic increased interest in the field of exosome biology. Although much is unknown about the role of exosomes in human health and disease, disparate scientific disciplines are recognizing the highly conserved role that exosomes play in fundamental biological processes. Recently, there have been intriguing discoveries defining the role of exosomes in cancer biology. We performed a structured review of the English-language literature using the PubMed database searching for articles relating to exosomes and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Articles were screened for relevance and content to judge for inclusion. Evidence implicates exosomes in the pathogenesis, local progression, metastasis, immune evasion, and intercellular communication of PDAC. Basic science discoveries in exosome biology have the potential to change the clinical management of PDAC, where, despite advances in early detection, diagnosis, staging, chemotherapy, and surgery, survival rates have been stagnant for decades and PDAC remains the most deadly human gastrointestinal malignancy.

From the Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.

Received for publication April 13, 2018; accepted October 23, 2018.

Address correspondence to: Jonathan C. King, MD, Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles,1304 15th St, Suite 102, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (e-mail:

Funding was received from Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research Seed Grant.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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