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Extracellular vesicles are lipid-bound vesicles derived from cells that can interact with other cells, participate in cell signaling, and transfer biologically active molecules. The pro-tumorigenic role of extracellular vesicles has been extensively investigated. The production of these vesicles occurs in both physiological and pathological processes by many cell types, including the macrophages. Macrophages have differential role in tumor biology: the M1 macrophages are cytotoxic (anti-tumor activity), and the M2 macrophages are pro-tumorigenic. A subpopulation of these macrophages is described as tumor-associated macrophages and several studies have described the importance of extracellular vesicles derived from tumor-associated macrophages in the advancement and progression of gastrointestinal cancers. This chapter highlights the role of macrophage derived extracellular vesicles in gastric, hepatic, pancreatic, and colorectal tumors. It also discusses the importance of molecules and cell signaling pathways involved in this context and emphasize the relevant role of these extracellular vesicles in tumor development.
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