Nanotheranostics 2023; 7(1):1-21. doi:10.7150/ntno.73606 This issue

Research Paper

A Rapid, Convergent Approach to the Identification of Exosome Inhibitors in Breast Cancer Models

Zoraida Andreu, Esther Masiá, David Charbonnier, María J. Vicent

Polymer Therapeutics Lab., Prince Felipe Research Center (CIPF), C. Eduardo Primo Yúfera 3, 46012, Valencia, Spain.

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Andreu Z, Masiá E, Charbonnier D, Vicent MJ. A Rapid, Convergent Approach to the Identification of Exosome Inhibitors in Breast Cancer Models. Nanotheranostics 2023; 7(1):1-21. doi:10.7150/ntno.73606. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Targeting cancer cell exosome release and biogenesis represents a potentially efficient means to treat tumors and prevent cancer recurrence/metastasis; however, the complexity and time-consuming nature of currently employed methods to purify and characterize exosomes represent obstacles to progression. Herein, we describe a rapid, convergent, and cost-efficient strategy to analyze candidate U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs that inhibit exosome release and/or biogenesis using breast cancer cell line models in the hope of repurposing them for the clinical treatment of metastatic tumors. We combined the ExoScreen assay based on AlphaScreenTM technology with the antibody-mediated detection of an atypical lipid (lysobisphosphatidic acid - LBPA) present in the intra-luminal vesicle/exosomal fraction to achieve both extracellular and intracellular information on exosome modulation after treatment. As proof of concept for this strategy, we identified docetaxel, biscurcumin, primaquine, and doxorubicin as potential exosome release inhibitors in the Her-2 positive MDA-MB-453 and luminal A MCF7 cell lines. Dinaciclib also functioned as an exosome release inhibitor in MCF7 cells. Further, we explored the expression of proteins involved in exosome biogenesis (TSG101, CD9 tetraspanin, Alix, SMase2) and release (Rab11, Rab27) to decipher and validate the possible molecular mechanisms of action of the identified exosome inhibitors. We anticipate that our approach could help to create robust high-throughput screening methodologies to accelerate drug repurposing when using FDA-approved compound libraries and to develop rationally-designed single/combination therapies (including nanomedicines) that can target metastasis progression by modulating exosome biogenesis or release in various tumor types.

Keywords: Exosomes, ExoScreen, LBPA, Tumor microenvironment