Van-Nghia Nguyen a,#, Thuy Nguyen Thi Dao b,#, Moonyeon Cho a, Hyunsun Jeong a, Minh-Tri Nguyen-Le c,d, Yong Shin b, Juyoung Yoon a
aDepartment of Chemistry and Nanoscience, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Republic of Korea
bDepartment of Biotechnology, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea
cLaboratory of Advanced Materials Chemistry, Advanced Institute of Materials Science, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 758307, Vietnam
dFaculty of Applied Sciences, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 758307, Vietnam
#Contributed equally to this work.
Corresponding authors : Yong Shin, Juyoung Yoon
Due to the critical limitations of conventional antitumor agents, great efforts have been made to develop advanced drug delivery systems to enhance the therapeutic outcomes of antitumor drugs, reduce side effects, and overcome tumor drug resistance. In recent years, extracellular vesicles, especially exosomes, which are membrane-bound extracellular vesicles endogenously secreted by many types of human cells, have garnered increasing attention in biomedical applications. In particular, they are considered highly promising natural delivery nanocarriers for cancer therapy owing to their unique features, including nanoscale bilayer membrane, natural cell-to-cell communication, excellent biocompatibility, low toxicity and immunogenicity, prolonged circulation half-life, and good structural stability. This review provides essential knowledge of extracellular vesicles and highlights exosomes, small extracellular vesicles, as potential nanocarriers for drug delivery. In addition, recent developments of exosome-based organic nanotherapeutic agents for cancer treatment, mainly including chemotherapy, cancer phototherapy, and cancer sonodynamic therapy, are introduced. Finally, challenges and prospects are comprehensively discussed to provide further guidance for the future development of exosomal drug delivery systems. We believe that this review will spur the transition of exosome-based nanotherapeutic agents from bench to bedside for cancer therapeutics.