Tumor-derived microvesicles: The metastasomes

Reza Ghasemi, Antonino Grassadonia, Nicola Tinari, Enza Piccolo, Clara Natoli, Federica Tomao, Stefano Iacobelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer death, yet it is mechanistically considered a very inefficient process suggesting the presence of some sort of (e.g. systemic) routes for fuelling the process. The pre-metastatic niche formation is described as one such metastasis promoting route. Now, the emerging potentials of tumor-derived microvesicles (TDMVs), not only in formulating the pre-metastatic niche, but also conferring neoplastic phenotypes onto normal cells, has integrated new concepts into the field. Here, we note as an ancillary proposition that, exerting functional disturbances in other sites, TDMVs (we have termed them metastasomes) may aid foundation of the secondary lesions via two seemingly interrelated models: (i) tumor-organ-training (TOTr), training a proper niche for the growth of the disseminated tumor cells; (ii) tumor-organ-targeting (TOTa), contribution to the propagation of the transformed phenotype via direct or indirect (TOTr-mediated disturbed stroma) transformation and/or heightened growth/survival states of the normal resident cells in the secondary organs. Respecting the high content of the RNA molecules (particularly microRNAs) identified in the secretory MVs, they may play crucial parts in such "malignant trait" spreading system. That is, the interactions between tumor tissue-specific RNA signatures, being transferred via metastasomes, and the cell-type/tissue-specific RNA stockrooms in other areas may settle a unique outcome in each organ. Thus, serving as tumor-organ matchmakers, the RNA molecules may also play substantial roles in the seeding and tropism of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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