Cancer-cell-derived exosomes confer oncogenic properties in their tumor microenvironment and to other cells; however, the exact mechanism underlying this process is unclear. Here, we investigated the roles of cancer-cell-derived exosomes in colon cancer. Exosomes were isolated from colon cancer cell lines, HT-29, SW480, and LoVo, using an ExoQuick-TC kit, identified using Western blotting for exosome markers, and characterized using transmission electron microscopy and nanosight tracking analysis. The isolated exosomes were used to treat HT-29 to evaluate their effect on cancer progression, specifically cell viability and migration. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) were obtained from patients with colorectal cancer to analyze the effect of the exosomes on the tumor microenvironment. RNA sequencing was performed to evaluate the effect of the exosomes on the mRNA component of CAFs. The results showed that exosome treatment significantly increased cancer cell proliferation, upregulated N-cadherin, and downregulated E-cadherin. Exosome-treated cells exhibited higher motility than control cells. Compared with control CAFs, exosome-treated CAFs showed more downregulated genes. The exosomes also altered the regulation of different genes involved in CAFs. In conclusion, colon cancer-cell-derived exosomes affect cancer cell proliferation and the epithelial–mesenchymal transition. They promote tumor progression and metastasis and affect the tumor microenvironment.
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- tumor microenvironment
- tumor progression