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Keywords:

  • Biomedicine;
  • Brain;
  • Cancer;
  • Exosomes;
  • Extracellular vesicles;
  • Oncogenes

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, act as biological effectors and as carriers of oncogenic signatures in human cancer. The molecular composition and accessibility of EVs in biofluids open unprecedented diagnostic opportunities in malignancies where tumour tissue is difficult to sample, especially in primary and metastatic brain tumours. The ongoing genetic discovery of driver mutations defines the ever increasing numbers of distinct molecular subtypes of brain tumours (orphan diseases), a complexity that may soon be translated into alterations in functional proteins and their oncogenic networks. This may likely be extended to real time changes engendered by the disease progression, tumour heterogeneity, inter-individual variations and therapeutic responses. Meeting these challenges through EV analysis is dependent on technological progress in such areas as generation of mutation- and phospho-specific antibodies, antibody array platforms, nanotechnology, microfluidics, NMR spectroscopy, MS and MRM approaches of quantitative proteomics, which should not be underestimated. Still, vesiculation emerges as a unique process that could be harnessed for the benefit of more individualised patient care.