Cancer-cell communication is an important and complex process, achieved through a diversity of mechanisms that allows tumor cells to mold and influence their environment. In recent years, evidence has accumulated indicating that cells communicate via the release and delivery of microRNAs (miRNAs) packed into tumor-released (TR) exosomes. Understanding the role and mode of action of miRNAs from TR exosomes is of paramount importance in the field of cancer biomarker discovery and for the development of new biomedical applications for cancer therapeutics.
In this review, the authors focus on miRNAs secreted via TR exosomes, which by acting in a paracrine or endocrine manner, facilitate a diversity of signaling mechanisms between cancer cells. They address their contribution as signaling molecules, to the establishment, maintenance, and enhancement of the tumor microenvironment and the metastatic niche in cancer. Finally, the authors address the potential role of these molecules as biomarkers in cancer diagnosis and prognosis and their impact as a biomedical tool in cancer therapeutics.