Tumor-derived exosomes in immunosuppression and immunotherapy

Tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) are involved in cancer development, metastasis, and disease progression. They can modulate angiogenesis to elevate the malignant degree of tumor cells. TEX carry immunosuppressive factors affecting the antitumor activities of immune cells. Tumor cells as well as immune cells secrete immunologically active exosomes which affect intercellular communication, antigen presentation, activation of immune cells, and immune surveillance. Cell proliferation and immune response suppression create a favorable microenvironment for tumor. TEX can inhibit immune cell proliferation, induce apoptosis of activated CD8+ Teffs, suppress NK cell activity, interfere with monocyte differentiation, and promote Treg as well as MDSC expansion. Exosomes of microenvironment cells may also contribute to the development of drug resistance in cancer therapy. An important role of TEX in modulating the sensitivity of tumor cells to immunotherapy is a promising area of research to make the cancer therapy more successful.


TEX suppress NK cell activity, promote MDSC expansion, inhibit immune cell proliferation, induce apoptosis of activated CD8+ T cells, and promote Treg expansion.

Olejarz W, Dominiak A, Żołnierzak A, Kubiak-Tomaszewska G, Lorenc T. (2020) Tumor-Derived Exosomes in Immunosuppression and Immunotherapy. Journal of Immunology Research [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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