Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer--excluding skin tumors--in men older than 50 years of age. Over time, the ability to diagnose PCa has improved considerably, mainly due to the introduction of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the clinical routine. However, it is important to take into account that although PSA is a highly organ-specific marker, it is not cancer-specific. This shortcoming suggests the need to find new and more specific molecular markers. Several emerging PCa biomarkers have been evaluated or are being assessed for their potential use. There is increasing interest in the prospective use of extracellular vesicles as specific markers; it is well known that the content of vesicles is dependent on their cellular origin and is strongly related to the stimulus that triggers the release of the vesicles. Consequently, the identification of a disease-specific molecule (protein, lipid or RNA) associated with vesicles could facilitate their use as novel biological markers. The present review describes several in vitro studies that demonstrate the role of vesicles in PCa progression and several in vivo studies that highlight the potential use of vesicles as PCa biomarkers.
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