Techniques in Coloproctology

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 989–990 | Cite as

The role of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers in colorectal cancer

  • D. Lucchetti
  • F. Litta
  • C. RattoEmail author
  • A. Sgambato

Dear Sir,

We read with interest the paper by Nikolaou et al. comparing the diagnostic ability of blood markers in colorectal cancer (CRC) [1]. They described and discussed different diagnostic blood markers in depth. However, we think that an important biomarker with great potential was missed and, although still under evaluation, should be at least cited: extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are bound vesicles which are released in the extracellular space from cells in both physiological and pathological conditions, and play a key role in cell-to-cell communication. EVs include two different types of vesicles classified by their size: exosomes and microvesicles. EVs contain specific proteins, lipids, ribonucleic acid (RNA), microRNA and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules (Fig. 1) [2]. The term “liquid biopsy” generally refers to the use of circulating (cell-free) tumor DNA or circulating tumor cells as non-invasive biomarkers for the early diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring of clinical...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This letter is not reporting any clinical series involving patients. So that, the approval of the Ethical Committee has been not required

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


  1. 1.
    Nikolaou S, Qiu S, Fiorentino F, Rasheed S, Tekkis P, Kontovounisios C (2018) Systematic review of blood diagnostic markers in colorectal cancer. Tech Coloproctol 22:481–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Siravegna G, Marsoni S, Siena S, Bardelli A (2017) Integrating liquid biopsies into the management of cancer. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 14:531–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lucchetti D, Calapà F, Palmieri V, Fanali C, Carbone F, Papa A, De Maria R, De Spirito M, Sgambato A (2017) Differentiation affects the release of exosomes from colon cancer cells and their ability to modulate the behavior of recipient cells. Am J Pathol 187:1633–1647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Yoshioka Y, Kosaka N, Konishi Y, Ohta H, Okamoto H, Sonoda H, Nonaka R, Yamamoto H, Ishii H, Mori M, Furuta K, Nakajima T, Hayashi H, Sugisaki H, Higashimoto H, Kato T, Takeshita F, Ochiya T (2014) Ultra-sensitive liquid biopsy of circulating extracellular vesicles using ExoScreen. Nat Commun 5:3591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ogata-Kawata H, Izumiya M, Kurioka D, Honma Y, Yamada Y, Furuta K, Gunji T, Ohta H, Okamoto H, Sonoda H, Watanabe M, Nakagama H, Yokota J, Kohno T, Tsuchiya N (2014) Circulating exosomal microRNAs as biomarkers of colon cancer. PLoS One 9:e92921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Allenson K, Castillo J, San Lucas FA, Scelo G, Kim DU, Bernard V, Davis G, Kumar T, Katz M, Overman MJ, Foretova L, Fabianova E, Holcatova I, Janout V, Meric-Bernstam F, Gascoyne P, Wistuba I, Varadhachary G, Brennan P, Hanash S, Li D, Maitra A, Alvarez H (2017) High prevalence of mutant KRAS in circulating exosome-derived DNA from early-stage pancreatic cancer patients. Ann Oncol 28:741–747PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Lucchetti
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Litta
    • 1
  • C. Ratto
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Sgambato
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Proctology UnitFondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCSRomeItaly
  2. 2.Institute of General PathologyCatholic University of the Sacred HeartRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations