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Oncotarget. 2016 Aug 23;7(34):54852-54866. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.10243.

Lung cancer exosomes as drivers of epithelial mesenchymal transition.

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Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
Liquid Crystal Institute and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242, USA.
Division of Medical Oncology, James Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Exosomes, a subgroup of extracellular vesicles (EVs), have been shown to serve as a conduit for the exchange of genetic information between cells. Exosomes are released from all types of cells but in abundance from cancer cells. The contents of exosomes consist of proteins and genetic material (mRNA, DNA and miRNA) from the cell of origin. In this study, we examined the effects of exosomes derived from human lung cancer serum and both highly metastatic and non-metastatic cells on recipient human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs). We found that exosomes derived from highly metastatic lung cancer cells and human late stage lung cancer serum induced vimentin expression, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in HBECs. Exosomes derived from highly metastatic cancer cells as well as late stage lung cancer serum induce migration, invasion and proliferation in non-cancerous recipient cells. Our results suggest that cancer derived exosomes could be a potential mediator of EMT in the recipient cells.


EMT; exosomes; lung cancer; metastasis; vimentin

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