& News

Tumor-derived microvesicles and the cancer microenvironment.

1. January 2012

Tumor cells release microvesicles (MVs) that may remain in the extracellular space in proximity to the
cell of origin, or that may migrate to distant sites by entering biological fluids. Increasing evidence
indicates that MVs are mediators of cell-to-cell communication which are able to deliver specific
signals, both within the tumor microenvironment and in the long-range. MVs are able to transfer
bioactive lipids and proteins, including oncogene products and receptors, from the cell of origin to
recipient cell. In addition, MVs may induce epigenetic changes in recipient cells by transferring genetic
information in the form of mRNA, microRNA and oncogenes. Several changes in the phenotype and
function that occur in stromal cells within the cancer microenvironment have been ascribed to tumor
cell-derived MVs. In this review we discuss the various biological actions of tumor-derived MVs and
their potential role in tumor biology.