Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous group of endogenous nanoscale vesicles that are secreted by various cell types. Based on their biogenesis and size distribution, EVs can be broadly classified as exosomes and microvesicles. Exosomes are enveloped by lipid bilayers with a size of 30–150 nm in diameter, which contain diverse biomolecules, including lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Exosomes transport their bioactive cargoes from original cells to recipient cells, thus play crucial roles in mediating intercellular communication. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women and remains a major health problem worldwide, diagnostic strategies and therapies aimed at breast cancer are still limited. Growing evidence shows that exosomes are involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer, including tumorigenesis, invasion and metastasis. Here, we provide a straightforward overview of exosomes and highlight the role of exosomes in the pathogenesis of breast cancer, moreover, we discuss the potential application of exosomes as biomarkers and therapeutic tools in breast cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
Part of the book: Global Women's Health