132 – The Role of Exosomes in Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Abstract: The importance of molecular re-characterization of metastatic disease with the purpose of monitoring tumor evolution has been acknowledged in numerous clinical guidelines for the management of advanced malignancies. In this context, an attractive alternative to overcome the limitations of repeated tissue sampling is represented by the analysis of peripheral blood samples as a ‘liquid biopsy’. In recent years, liquid biopsies have been studied for the early diagnosis of cancer, the monitoring of tumor burden, tumor heterogeneity and the emergence of molecular resistance, along with the detection of minimal residual disease. Interestingly, liquid biopsy consents the analysis of circulating tumor cells, circulating tumor DNA and extracellular vesicles (EVs). In particular, EVs play a crucial role in cell communication, carrying transmembrane and nonmembrane proteins, as well as metabolites, lipids and nucleic acids. Of all EVs, exosomes mirror the biological fingerprints of the parental cells from which they originate, and therefore, are considered one of the most promising predictors of early cancer diagnosis and treatment response. The present review discusses current knowledge on the possible applications of exosomes in breast cancer (BC) diagnosis, with a focus on patients at higher risk.

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