Extracellular vesicles as biomarkers and therapeutic tools: From pre-clinical to clinical applications

Maria Chiara Ciferri, Rodolfo Quarto, Roberta Tasso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are ubiquitous masters of intercellular communication, being detectable in tissues, circulation, and body fluids. Their complex cargo reflects the (patho)physiologic status of the cells from which they originate. Due to these properties, the potential of EVs, and in particular exosomes, to serve as biomarkers or therapeutics has grown exponentially over the past decade. On one side, numerous studies have demonstrated that EV-associated nucleic acids and proteins are implicated in cancer progression, as well as neurodegenerative, infectious, and autoimmune disorders. On the other, the therapeutic use of EVs secreted by various cell types, and in particular stem/progenitor cells, present significant advantages in comparison to the corresponding parental cells, such as the less complex production and storage conditions. In this review, we examine some of the major pre-clinical studies dealing with EVs and exosomes, that led to the development of numerous completed clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Biomarkers
  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Exosomes
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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