Role of exosomes in prostate cancer metastasis

Theresa Akoto, Sharanjot Saini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer remains a life-threatening disease among men worldwide. The majority of PCa-related mortality results from metastatic disease that is characterized by metastasis of prostate tumor cells to various distant organs, such as lung, liver, and bone. Bone metastasis is most common in prostate cancer with osteoblastic and osteolytic lesions. The precise mechanisms underlying PCa metastasis are still being delineated. Intercellular communication is a key feature underlying prostate cancer progression and metastasis. There exists local signaling between prostate cancer cells and cells within the primary tumor microenvironment (TME), in addition to long range signaling wherein tumor cells communicate with sites of future metastases to promote the formation of pre-metastatic niches (PMN) to augment the growth of disseminated tumor cells upon metastasis. Over the last decade, exosomes/ extracellular vesicles have been demonstrated to be involved in such signaling. Exosomes are nanosized extracellular vesicles (EVs), between 30 and 150 nm in thickness, that originate and are released from cells after multivesicular bodies (MVB) fuse with the plasma membrane. These vesicles consist of lipid bilayer membrane enclosing a cargo of biomolecules, including proteins, lipids, RNA, and DNA. Exosomes mediate intercellular communication by transferring their cargo to recipient cells to modulate target cellular functions. In this review, we discuss the contribution of exosomes/extracellular vesicles in prostate cancer progression, in pre-metastatic niche establishment, and in organ-specific metastases. In addition, we briefly discuss the clinical significance of exosomes as biomarkers and therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3528
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Castration-resistance prostate cancer
  • Exosomes/extracellular vesicles
  • Metastasis
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Tumor-derived exosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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