Over the last few decades, extensive studies by several groups have introduced the concept of cell-derived secreted extracellular membrane vesicles as carriers of complex molecular information. Owing to their pleiotropic biological effects and involvement in a wide variety of biological processes, extracellular membrane vesicles have been implicated in physiological as well as pathological events, including tumour development and metastasis. In the present review, we discuss the role of secreted membrane vesicles in intercellular communication with a focus on tumour biology. Of particular interest is the potential role of extracellular vesicles as orchestrators of common features of the malignant tumour microenvironment, e.g. coagulation activation and angiogenesis.

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