Osteosarcoma-derived extracellular vesicles induce a tumor-like phenotype in normal recipient cells

Enrica Urciuoli, Ezio Giorda, Marco Scarsella, Stefania Petrini, Barbara Peruzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone cancer and the most frequent cause of bone cancer-related deaths in children and adolescents. Osteosarcoma cells are able to establish a crosstalk with resident bone cells leading to the formation of a deleterious vicious cycle. We hypothesized that osteosarcoma cells can release, in the bone microenvironment, transforming Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) involved in regulating bone cell proliferation and differentiation, thereby promoting tumor growth. We assessed EV production by three osteosarcoma cell lines with increasing aggressiveness in order to investigate their roles in the communication between osteosarcoma cells and normal recipient cells. Osteosarcoma-derived EVs were used to treat the murine fibroblast cell line NIH3T3 and to study the induction of tumor-like phenotypes. Our results showed that osteosarcoma cell lines are able to produce EVs that fuse to recipient cells, with a very high uptake efficiency. The treatment of recipient NIH3T3 with osteosarcoma-derived EVs induced substantial biological and functional effects, as an enhanced proliferation and survival capability under starved conditions, high levels of activated survival pathways, an increased migration, adhesion, and 3D sphere formation and the acquired capability to grow in an anchorage-independent manner. Moreover, in murine NIH3T3 we found human mRNAs of TNF-α, IL-6, and TGF-β, as well as a de novo expression of murine MMP-9 and TNF-α following the treatment of human osteosarcoma-derived EVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6158-6172
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


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