Exosomes for Diagnosis and Therapy in Gastrointestinal Cancers

Maria Principia Scavo, Nicoletta Depalo, Valeria Tutino, Valentina De Nunzio, Chiara Ingrosso, Federica Rizzi, Maria Notarnicola, Maria Lucia Curri, Gianluigi Giannelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Exosomes are membrane-bound extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by most cells, having a size ranging from 30 to 150 nm, and are involved in mechanisms of cell-cell communication in physiological and pathological tissues. Exosomes are engaged in the transport of biomolecules, such as lipids, proteins, messenger RNAs, and microRNA, and in signal transmission through the intercellular transfer of components. In the context of proteins and nucleic acids transported from exosomes, our interest is focused on the Frizzled proteins family and related messenger RNA. Exosomes can regenerate stem cell phenotypes and convert them into cancer stem cells by regulating the Wnt pathway receptor family, namely Frizzled proteins. In particular, for gastrointestinal cancers, the Frizzled protein involved in those mechanisms is Frizzled-10 (FZD-10). Currently, increasing attention is being devoted to the protein and lipid composition of exosomes interior and membranes, representing profound knowledge of specific exosomes composition fundamental for their application as new delivering drug tools for cancer therapy. This review intends to cover the most recent literature on the use of exosome vesicles for early diagnosis, follow-up, and the use of these physiological nanovectors as drug delivery systems for gastrointestinal cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 6 2020


  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/genetics
  • Drug Delivery Systems/methods
  • Exosomes/genetics
  • Frizzled Receptors/genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism


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