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Roles of Extracellular Vesicles in High-Grade Gliomas: Tiny Particles with Outsized Influence

Authors
  • Graner, Michael W.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Aug 31, 2019
Volume
20
Pages
331–357
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-genom-083118-015324
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

High-grade gliomas, particularly glioblastomas (grade IV), are devastating diseases with dismal prognoses; afflicted patients seldom live longer than 15 months, and their quality of life suffers immensely. Our current standard-of-care therapy has remained essentially unchanged for almost 15 years, with little new therapeutic progress. We desperately need a better biologic understanding of these complicated tumors in a complicated organ. One area of rejuvenated study relates to extracellular vesicles (EVs)—membrane-enclosed nano- or microsized particles that originate from the endosomal system or are shed from the plasma membrane. EVs contribute to tumor heterogeneity (including the maintenance of glioma stem cells or their differentiation), the impacts of hypoxia (angiogenesis and coagulopathies), interactions amid the tumor microenvironment (concerning the survival of astrocytes, neurons, endothelial cells, blood vessels, the blood–brain barrier, and the ensuing inflammation), and influences on the immune system (both stimulatory and suppressive). This article reviews glioma EVs and the ways that EVs manifest themselves as autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine factors in proximal and distal intra- and intercellular communications. The reader should note that there is much controversy, and indeed confusion, in the field over the exact roles for EVs in many biological processes, and we will engage some of these difficulties herein.

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