The biodistribution and immune suppressive effects of breast cancer-derived exosomes

Shu Wen Wen, Jaclyn Sceneay, Luize Goncalves Lima, Christina S F Wong, Melanie Becker, Sophie Krumeich, Richard J. Lobb, Vanessa Castillo, Ke Ni Wong, Sarah Ellis, Belinda S. Parker, Andreas Moller

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224 Citations (Scopus)


Small membranous secretions from tumor cells, termed exosomes, contribute significantly to intercellular communication and subsequent reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment. Here, we use optical imaging to determine that exogenously administered fluorescently labeled exosomes derived from highly metastatic murine breast cancer cells distributed predominantly to the lung of syngeneic mice, a frequent site of breast cancer metastasis. At the sites of accumulation, exosomes were taken up by CD45+ bone marrow-derived cells. Subsequent long-term conditioning of naïve mice with exosomes from highly metastatic breast cancer cells revealed the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the lung and liver. This favorable immune suppressive microenvironment was capable of promoting metastatic colonization in the lung and liver, an effect not observed from exosomes derived from nonmetastatic cells and liposome control vesicles. Furthermore, we determined that breast cancer exosomes directly suppressed T-cell proliferation and inhibited NK cell cytotoxicity, and hence likely suppressed the anticancer immune response in premetastatic organs. Together, our findings provide novel insight into the tissue-specific outcomes of breast cancer-derived exosome accumulation and their contribution to immune suppression and promotion of metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6816-6827
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

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