The leukaemias are a heterogeneous group of blood cancers, which together, caused 310,000 deaths in 2016. Despite significant research into their biology and therapeutics, leukaemia is predicted to account for an increased 470,000 deaths in 2040. Many subtypes remain without targeted therapy, and therefore the mainstay of treatment remains generic cytotoxic drugs with bone marrow transplant the sole definitive option. In this review, we will focus on cellular mechanisms which have the potential for therapeutic exploitation to specifically target and treat this devastating disease. We will bring together the disciplines of autophagy and extracellular vesicles, exploring how the dysregulation of these mechanisms can lead to changes in the leukaemic microenvironment and the subsequent propagation of disease. The dual effect of these mechanisms in the disease microenvironment is not limited to leukaemia; therefore, we briefly explore their role in autoimmunity, inflammation and degenerative disease.
- Extracellular vesicles
- Tumour microenvironment