Immune cell and extracellular vesicle-based biomarkers for gynaecologic cancers

BJMO - volume 17, issue 2, march 2023

L. Lippens PhD, K. Vandecasteele MD, PhD, A. Hendrix PhD, H. Denys MD, PhD


Immune checkpoint blockade has shown great potential in oncology. However, only a fraction of patients benefits from this therapy. Furthermore, severe immune-related adverse events occur in a part of the patients, and financial toxicity cannot be underestimated. It is therefore important to develop predictive biomarkers to differentiate responders from non-responders. Tumour tissue samples offer a large amount of information as anti-tumour immunity is regulated through multiple factors in the tumour microenvironment. The potential of tumour-infiltrating immune cells was investigated to predict response to therapy and survival. In contrast to tissue biopsies, liquid biopsies allow for collection in a less invasive manner, allow for repetitive sampling during therapy, and offer information on all cancer cells in the tumour as well as metastases at distinct locations in the body. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) present in the circulation are a spatiotemporal fingerprint of the cell of origin. Therefore, EV-derived information has the potential to be used for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment selection and evaluating treatment response. However, the clinical application of EVs is currently hampered by a lack of sensitive, high-throughput and fast EV analysis techniques.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2023;17(2):63–5)

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Extracellular vesicles to diagnose and treat cancer

BJMO - volume 11, issue 3, may 2017

J. Tulkens , L. Lippens PhD, G. Vergauwen , S. Jeurissen MD, B. Dhondt MD, H. Denys MD, PhD, A. Hendrix PhD


Extracellular vesicles transfer lipids, nucleic acids and membrane-associated as well as intraluminal proteins between cells to maintain homeostasis and regulate physiological functions. This communication system is hijacked in cancer. Tumour-derived extracellular vesicles enter the circulation and carry targeting motifs and unique messages for cell-type specific instruction of distant ecosystems to foster metastasis. In this review we focus on how extracellular vesicles provide new opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Quantification and characterisation of tumour-derived extracellular vesicles obtained by liquid biopsy may enable the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients. Interference with extracellular vesicle biogenesis and implementation of extracellular vesicles as cancer vaccines or drug delivery vehicles opens up therapeutic potential to treat cancer.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2017;11(3):92–105)

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