Tumour-deriving microvesicles comprise a class of extracellular vesicles; releasing from tumour cells that are now understanding to facilitate communication between the tumour and the surrounding microenvironment. As microRNA “cargo” is moving into the sacs; called extracellular vesicles, in a process similar to how a package would be delivering through a series of trucks; cars and postal workers.
The delivery mechanism tumor cells use to move nucleic acids into small sacs shed from their surfaces information; that is eventually sharing with other cells within the tumor microenvironment, causing the cancer to spread. The releasing vesicles taking up by other non-tumor cells change the behavior of surrounding recipient cells.
In addition to demonstrating the pathway in which biological information is processing; the study also showing that the microRNAs are transferring to other cells within the tumor’s microenvironment. Once releasing from the tumor cell, these vesicles serve as ‘information packets’ with instructions for other cells in the tumor microenvironment.
Deciphering this new dimension of communication between cells allows us to better understand how cancers spread. But outside the nucleus of the tumor cell, a precursor to a mature microRNA binds to specific cellular proteins. This facilitates its delivery to other proteins that ultimately shuttle the microRNA to the vesicles forming at the cell surface.
However, once shed from the tumor cells; these vesicles can be finding circulating through the body in fluids like blood and urine. As such, they can be used as biomarkers that can point to the presence of cancer. If perfected, the process of detecting these vesicles, through a liquid biopsy, can lead to early detection of different types of tumors.
But in addition, because the shed tumor vesicles carry specific disease-related molecules, researchers can also start devising potential new cancer therapies. “Now that we understand a little more about how these molecules are trafficked and assembled into tumor vesicles, scientists can manipulate these steps to rework the content of these vesicles,” D’Souza-Schorey said. “It’s like altering and correcting the message released from the tumor cell.