Ceramide and Exosomes: A Novel Target in Cancer Biology and Therapy

Ahmed Elsherbini, Erhard Bieberich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Exosomes are secreted extracellular vesicles (EVs) that carry micro RNAs and other factors to reprogram cancer cells and tissues affected by cancer. Exosomes are exchanged between cancer cells and other tissues, often to prepare a premetastatic niche, escape immune surveillance, or spread multidrug resistance. Only a few studies investigated the function of lipids in exosomes although their lipid composition is different from that of the secreting cells. Ceramide is one of the lipids critical for exosome formation, and it is also enriched in these EVs. New research suggests that lipids in the exosomal membrane may organize and transmit “mobile rafts” that turn exosomes into extracellular signalosomes spreading activation of cell signaling pathways in oncogenesis and metastasis. Ceramide may modulate the function of mobile rafts and their effect on these cell signaling pathways. The critical role of lipids and, in particular, ceramide for formation, secretion, and function of exosomes may lead to a radically new understanding of cancer biology and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Cancer Research
EditorsCharles E. Chalfant, Paul B. Fisher
Number of pages34
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Cancer Research
ISSN (Print)0065-230X
ISSN (Electronic)2162-5557

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cancer
  • Ceramide
  • Exosomes
  • Metastasis
  • miRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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