Defining lung cancer stem cells exosomal payload of miRNAs in clinical perspective

Lung Cancer

World J Stem Cells. 2020 Jun 26;12(6):406-421. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i6.406.


Since the first publication regarding the existence of stem cells in cancer [cancer stem cells (CSCs)] in 1994, many studies have been published providing in-depth information about their biology and function. This research has paved the way in terms of appreciating the role of CSCs in tumour aggressiveness, progression, recurrence and resistance to cancer therapy. Targeting CSCs for cancer therapy has still not progressed to a sufficient degree, particularly in terms of exploring the mechanism

of dynamic interconversion between CSCs and non-CSCs. Besides the CSC scenario, the problem of cancer dissemination has been analyzed in-depth with the identification and isolation of microRNAs (miRs), which are now considered to be compelling molecular markers in the diagnosis and prognosis of tumours in general and specifically in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Paracrine release of miRs via "exosomes" (small membrane vesicles (30-100 nm), the derivation of which lies in the luminal membranes of multi-vesicular bodies) released by fusion with the cell membrane is gaining popularity. Whether exosomes play a significant role in maintaining a dynamic equilibrium state between CSCs and non-CSCs and their mechanism of activity is as yet unknown. Future studies on CSC-related exosomes will provide new perspectives for precision-targeted treatment strategies.