Liver metastases develop in more than half of the patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and are associated with a poor prognosis. The factors influencing liver metastasis of CRC are poorly characterized, but this information is urgently needed. We have now discovered that small extracellular vesicles (sEVs; exosomes) derived from CRC can be specifically targeted to liver tissue and induce liver macrophage polarization toward an interleukin-6 (IL-6)-secreting proinflammatory phenotype. More importantly, we found that microRNA-21-5p (miR-21) was highly enriched in CRC-derived sEVs and was essential for creating a liver proinflammatory phenotype and liver metastasis of CRC. Silencing either miR-21 in CRC-sEVs or Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) in macrophages, to which miR-21 binds, abolished CRC-sEVs’ induction of proinflammatory macrophages. Furthermore, miR-21 expression in plasma-derived sEVs was positively correlated with liver metastasis in CRC patients. Collectively, our data demonstrate a pivotal role of CRC-sEVs in promoting liver metastasis by inducing an inflammatory premetastatic niche through the miR-21–TLR7–IL-6 axis. Thus, sEVs–miR-21 represents a potential prognostic marker and therapeutic target for CRC patients with liver metastasis.
Shao, Yingkuan, Ting Chen, Xi Zheng, Sheng Yang, Kailun Xu, Xuewen Chen, Fei Xu et al. "Colorectal Cancer-derived Small Extracellular Vesicles Establish an Inflammatory Pre-metastatic Niche in Liver Metastasis." Carcinogenesis 1 (2018): 12.
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