Extracellular vesicles in modifying the effects of ionizing radiation

Tünde Szatmári, Rita Hargitai, Géza Sáfrány, Katalin Lumniczky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-coated nanovesicles actively secreted by almost all cell types. EVs can travel long distances within the body, being finally taken up by the target cells, transferring information from one cell to another, thus influencing their behavior. The cargo of EVs comprises of nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins derived from the cell of origin, thereby it is cell-type specific; moreover, it differs between diseased and normal cells. Several studies have shown that EVs have a role in tumor formation and prognosis. It was also demonstrated that ionizing radiation can alter the cargo of EVs. EVs, in turn can modulate radiation responses and they play a role in radiation-induced bystander effects. Due to their biocompatibility and selective targeting, EVs are suitable nanocarrier candidates of drugs in various diseases, including cancer. Furthermore, the cargo of EVs can be engineered, and in this way they can be designed to carry certain genes or even drugs, similar to synthetic nanoparticles. In this review, we describe the biological characteristics of EVs, focusing on the recent efforts to use EVs as nanocarriers in oncology, the effects of EVs in radiation therapy, highlighting the possibilities to use EVs as nanocarriers to modulate radiation effects in clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5527
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019



  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Intercellular signaling
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Nanocarriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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