Immunoregulatory Potential of Exosomes Derived from Cancer Stem Cells

Shannon M. Clayton, Joehleen A. Archard, Joseph Wagner, D. Gregory Farwell, Arnaud F. Bewley, Angela Beliveau, Andrew Birkeland, Shyam Rao, Marianne Abouyared, Peter C. Belafsky, Johnathon D. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) are malignancies that originate in the mucosal lining of the upper aerodigestive tract. Despite advances in therapeutic interventions, survival rates among HNSCC patients have remained static for years. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are tumor-initiating cells that are highly resistant to treatment, and are hypothesized to contribute to a significant fraction of tumor recurrences. Consequently, further investigations of how CSCs mediate recurrence may provide insights into novel druggable targets. A key element of recurrence involves the tumor's ability to evade immunosurveillance. Recent published reports suggest that CSCs possess immunosuppressive properties, however, the underlying mechanism have yet to be fully elucidated. To date, most groups have focused on the role of CSC-derived secretory proteins, such as cytokines and growth factors. Here, we review the established immunoregulatory role of exosomes derived from mixed tumor cell populations, and propose further study of CSC-derived exosomes may be warranted. Such studies may yield novel insights into new druggable targets, or lay the foundation for future exosome-based diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2020


  • cancer stem cells
  • exosomes
  • head and neck cancer
  • m2 macrophages
  • regulatory T lymphocytes
  • secretory proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Immunoregulatory Potential of Exosomes Derived from Cancer Stem Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this