One of the biggest challenges in the fight against cancer is early detection. Early diagnosis is vital, but there are some barriers such as economic, cultural, and personal factors. Considering the disadvantages of radiological imaging techniques or serological analysis methods used in cancer diagnosis, such as being expensive, requiring expertise, and being time-consuming, there is a need to develop faster, more reliable, and cost-effective diagnostic methods for use in cancer diagnosis.
Exosomes, which are responsible for intercellular communication with sizes ranging from 30-120 nm, are naturally produced biological nanoparticles. Thanks to the cargo contents they carry, they are a potential biomarker to be used in the diagnosis of cancer. Exosomes, defined as extracellular vesicles of endosomal origin, are effective in cancer growth, progression, metastasis, and drug resistance, and changes in microenvironmental conditions during tumor development change exosome secretion. Due to their high cellular activity, tumor cells produce much higher exosomes than healthy cells. Therefore, it is known that the number of exosomes in body fluids is significantly rich compared to other cells and can act as a stand-alone diagnostic biomarker. Cancer- derived exosomes have received great attention in recent years for the early detection of cancer and the evaluation of therapeutic response.
In this article, the content, properties, and differences of exosomes detected in common types of cancer (lung, liver, pancreas, ovaries, breast, colorectal), which are the leading causes of cancer-related deaths, are reviewed. We also discuss the potential utility of exosome contents as a biomarker for early detection, which is known to be important in targeted cancer therapy.