Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 921–930 | Cite as

The role of pancreatic cancer-derived exosomes in cancer progress and their potential application as biomarkers

  • H. Jin
  • Y. Wu
  • X. TanEmail author
Review Article


Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, with dismal prognosis due to its poor early detection rate and high metastatic rate. Thus, elucidation of the molecular mechanisms accounting for its metastasis and discovery of competent biomarkers is required. Exosomes are multivesicular body-derived small extracellular vesicles released by various cell types that serve as important message carriers during intercellular communication. They are also known to play critical roles during cancer-genesis, cancer-related immune reactions, and metastasis. They also possess promising potential as novel biomarkers for cancer early detection. Therefore, extensive studies on pancreatic cancer-derived exosomes are currently being performed because they hold the promising potential of elevating the overall survival rate of patients with pancreatic cancer. In the present review, we focus on the role of exosomes in pancreatic cancer-related immune reactions, metastasis, and complications, and on their potential application as pancreatic cancer biomarkers.


Cancer biomarker Exosomes Immunology Metastasis Pancreatic cancer 



Atomic force microscopy


Bone marrow


Cancer-associated fibroblasts


Circulating exosomes


Chronic pancreatitis


Cancer stem cell


Dendritic cells


Endosomal sorting complex required for transport


Epithelial mesenchymal transition


Exosomal DNA


Exosomal RNA


Extracellular vesicles


Fluorescence-activated cell sorting




International Society for Extracellular Vesicles


Intraluminal vesicles


Localized surface plasmon resonance


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor


Multivesicular body

NK cells

Nature-killing cells


Pancreatic cancer


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas


Plasma membranes


Polyethylene glycol


Pyruvate kinase


Soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion attachment protein receptors


Surface acoustic wave


Transforming growth factor β


Transmission electron microscopy




Compliance with ethical standards

This study was funded by the Outstanding Scientific Fund of Shengjing Hospital (grant number M731).

Conflict of interest

The authors have no potential conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shengjing Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Pancreatic and Thyroidal SurgeryShengjing Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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