Immune Modulation of T Cells and Natural Killer Cells by Tumor-Derived Exosomes



Tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) are present in body fluids of patients with cancer. By downregulating functions of immune cells, TEX promote tumor progression. In patients with cancer, apoptosis of activated tumor-specific T cells, depressed natural killer (NK) cell activity, and the increased frequency in the peripheral blood or tumor sites of CD4+CD25hiFOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) are common and consistent findings. Evidence suggests that TEX have immunoregulatory properties and contribute to CD8+ effector T cell apoptosis, induction/expansion of Treg, and inhibition of NK cell activity. Membrane-associated molecules, such as TGF-b or Fas ligand, are carried by TEX and are responsible for the ability of TEX to regulate peripheral tolerance in patients with cancer.


Tumor-derived exosomes Tumor escape Immunosuppression T cells NK cells 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh Cancer InstitutePittsburghUSA

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