The Role of Extracellular Vesicles in Bone Metastasis

Michela Rossi, Giulia Battafarano, Matteo D'Agostini, Andrea Del Fattore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Multiple types of cancer have the specific ability to home to the bone microenvironment and cause metastatic lesions. Despite being the focus of intense investigation, the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the metastasis of disseminated tumor cells still remain largely unknown. Bone metastases severely impact quality of life since they are associated with pain, fractures, and bone marrow aplasia. In this review, we will summarize the recent discoveries on the role of extracellular vesicles (EV) in the regulation of bone remodeling activity and bone metastasis occurrence. Indeed, it was shown that extracellular vesicles, including exosomes and microvesicles, released from tumor cells can modify the bone microenvironment, allowing the formation of osteolytic, osteosclerotic, and mixed mestastases. In turn, bone-derived EV can stimulate the proliferation of tumor cells. The inhibition of EV-mediated crosstalk between cancer and bone cells could represent a new therapeutic target for bone metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 10 2018


  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms/metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles/metabolism
  • Humans


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