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Cellular and Molecular Biology

Extruded small extracellular vesicles: splinters of circulating tumour cells may promote cancer metastasis?

Abstract

We speculate ruptured circulating tumour cells (CTC) in capillaries could release a large number of small extracellular vesicle-like vesicles, namely mechanically extruded sEV (sEVme), which can encapsulate chromosomal DNA fragments. These sEVme have similar physicochemical properties compared to small extracellular vesicles spontaneously secreted by living cells (sEVss), and thus sEVme and sEVss cannot be effectively distinguished based on their size or membrane protein markers. Meanwhile, these sEVme derived from CTC inherit oncogenic payloads, deliver cargo through the bloodstream to recipient cells, and thus may promote cancer metastasis. The validation of this speculation could facilitate our understanding of EV biogenesis and cancer pathology. The potential finding will also provide a theoretical foundation for burgeoning liquid biopsy using DNA fragments derived from harvested sEV.

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Fig. 1: Proposed sEVme generation by CTC.

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YW and YX wrote the manuscript; YW and SZ edited the manuscript; all authors revised the manuscript critically; all authors approved the version to be published.

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Correspondence to Yuan Wan or Si-Yang Zheng.

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Wan, Y., Xia, YQ. & Zheng, SY. Extruded small extracellular vesicles: splinters of circulating tumour cells may promote cancer metastasis?. Br J Cancer 127, 1180–1183 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-022-01934-z

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