Theranostics 2019; 9(26):8001-8017. doi:10.7150/thno.37097 This issue


Extracellular vesicle-based drug delivery systems for cancer treatment

Sierra Walker1#, Sara Busatto1#, Anthony Pham1, Ming Tian1, Annie Suh1, Kelsey Carson2, Astrid Quintero2, Maria Lafrence2, Hanna Malik2, Moises X. Santana2, Joy Wolfram1,2,3✉

1. Department of Transplantation/Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, 32224, USA
2. Department of Biology, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, 32224, USA
3. Department of Nanomedicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX, 77030, USA
#These authors contributed equally.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Walker S, Busatto S, Pham A, Tian M, Suh A, Carson K, Quintero A, Lafrence M, Malik H, Santana MX, Wolfram J. Extracellular vesicle-based drug delivery systems for cancer treatment. Theranostics 2019; 9(26):8001-8017. doi:10.7150/thno.37097. Available from

File import instruction


Graphic abstract

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are naturally occurring cell-secreted nanoparticles that play important roles in many physiological and pathological processes. EVs enable intercellular communication by serving as delivery vehicles for a wide range of endogenous cargo molecules, such as RNAs, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. EVs have also been found to display tissue tropism mediated by surface molecules, such as integrins and glycans, making them promising for drug delivery applications. Various methods can be used to load therapeutic agents into EVs, and additional modification strategies have been employed to prolong circulation and improve targeting. This review gives an overview of EV-based drug delivery strategies in cancer therapy.

Keywords: cancer therapy, drug delivery, extracellular vesicle, nanomedicine