Cancer extracellular vesicles: Next-generation diagnostic and drug delivery nanotools

Stefano Palazzolo, Lorenzo Memeo, Mohamad Hadla, Fahriye Duzagac, Agostino Steffan, Tiziana Perin, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Tiziano Tuccinardi, Isabella Caligiuri, Flavio Rizzolio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanosized extracellular vesicles (EVs) with dimensions ranging from 100 to 1000 nm are continuously secreted from different cells in their extracellular environment. They are able to encapsulate and transfer various biomolecules, such as nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids, that play an essential role in cell-cell communication, reflecting a novel method of extracellular cross-talk. Since EVs are present in large amounts in most bodily fluids, challengeable hypotheses are analyzed to unlock their potential roles. Here, we review EVs by discussing their specific characteristics (structure, formation, composition, and isolation methods), focusing on their key role in cell biology. Furthermore, this review will summarize the biomedical applications of EVs, in particular those between 30 and 150 nm (like exosomes), as next-generation diagnostic tools in liquid biopsy for cancer and as novel drug delivery vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3165
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Cancer
  • Diagnostics
  • Drug delivery
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Microvesicles
  • Nanomedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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