Exosomes as biomarker treasure chests for prostate cancer
Context: Although progress has been made with regard to types of markers (protein, DNA, RNA, and metabolites) and implementation of improved technologies (mass spectrometry, arrays, and deep sequencing), the discovery of novel biomarkers for prostate cancer (PCa) in complex fluids, such as serum and urine, remains a challenge. Meanwhile, recent studies have reported that many cancer-derived proteins and RNAs are secreted through small vesicles known as exosomes. Objective: This narrative review describes recent progress in exosome research, focusing on the potential role of exosomes as novel biomarkers for PCa. The purpose of this review is to acquaint clinicians and researchers in the field of urology with the potential role of exosomes as biomarker treasure chests and with their clinical value. Evidence acquisition: Medline and Embase entries between 1966 and September 2010 were searched using the keywords exosomes, microvesicles, prostasomes, biomarkers, prostate cancer, and urology. Leading publications and articles constructively contributing to exosome research were selected for this review. Evidence synthesis: Exosomes are small vesicles (50-100 nm) secreted by almost all tissues; they represent their tissue origin. Purification of prostate- and PCa-derived exosomes will allow us to profile exosomes, providing a promising source of protein and RNA biomarkers for PCa. This profiling will contribute to the discovery of novel markers for the early diagnosis and reliable prognosis of PCa. Conclusions: Although the initial results are promising, further investigations are required to assess the clinical value of these exosomes in PCa.