Cancer cells shuttle extracellular vesicles containing oncogenic mutant p53 proteins to the tumor microenvironment

Bibek Bhatta, Ishai Luz, Christian Krueger, Fanny Xueting Teo, David P. Lane, Kanaga Sabapathy, Tomer Cooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) shed by cancer cells play a major role in mediating the transfer of molecular information by reprogramming the tumor microenvironment (TME). TP53 (encoding the p53 protein) is the most mutated gene across many cancer types. Mutations in TP53 not only result in the loss of its tumor-suppressive properties but also results in the acquisition of novel gain-of-functions (GOF) that promote the growth of cancer cells. Here, we demonstrate that GOF mutant p53 proteins can be transferred via EVs to neighboring cancer cells and to macrophages, thus modulating them to release tumor supportive cytokines. Our data from pancreatic, lung, and colon carcinoma cell lines demonstrate that the mutant p53 protein can be selectively sorted into EVs. More specifically, mutant p53 proteins in EVs can be taken up by neighboring cells and mutant p53 expression is found in non-tumor cells in both human cancers and in non-human tissues in human xenografts. Our findings shed light on the intricate methods in which specific GOF p53 mutants can promote oncogenic mechanisms by reprogramming and then recruiting non-cancerous elements for tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2985
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2021


  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Mutant p53 protein
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Cancer cells shuttle extracellular vesicles containing oncogenic mutant p53 proteins to the tumor microenvironment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this