Emerging roles of exosomes during epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer progression

David W. Greening, Shashi K. Gopal, Rommel A. Mathias, Lin Liu, Jingyi Sheng, Hong Jian Zhu, Richard J Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a highly conserved process defined by the loss of epithelial characteristics, and acquisition of the mesenchymal phenotype. In addition to its central role in development, EMT has been implicated as a cellular process during tumourigenesis which facilitates tumour cell invasion and metastasis. The EMT process has been largely defined by signal transduction networks and transcriptional factors that activate mesenchymal-associated gene expression. Knowledge of secretome components that influence EMT including secreted proteins/peptides and membrane-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) (i.e., exosomes) has emerged. Here we review EV cargo associated with inducing the hallmarks of EMT and cancer progression, modulators of cell transformation, invasion/migration, angiogenesis, and components involved in establishing the metastatic niche.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer progression
  • EMT
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Exosomes
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Microparticles

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