Small Extracellular Vesicles from Infarcted and Failing Heart Accelerate Tumor Growth

Tal Caller, Itai Rotem, Olga Shaihov-Teper, Daria Lendengolts, Yeshai Schary, Ruty Shai, Efrat Glick-Saar, Dan Dominissini, Menachem Motiei, Idan Katzir, Rachela Popovtzer, Merav Nahmoud, Alex Boomgarden, Crislyn D'Souza-Schorey, Nili Naftali-Shani, Jonathan Leor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Myocardial infarction (MI) and heart failure are associated with an increased incidence of cancer. However, the mechanism is complex and unclear. Here, we aimed to test our hypothesis that cardiac small extracellular vesicles (sEVs), particularly cardiac mesenchymal stromal cell-derived sEVs (cMSC-sEVs), contribute to the link between post-MI left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) and cancer. METHODS: We purified and characterized sEVs from post-MI hearts and cultured cMSCs. Then, we analyzed cMSC-EV cargo and proneoplastic effects on several lines of cancer cells, macrophages, and endothelial cells. Next, we modeled heterotopic and orthotopic lung and breast cancer tumors in mice with post-MI LVD. We transferred cMSC-sEVs to assess sEV biodistribution and its effect on tumor growth. Finally, we tested the effects of sEV depletion and spironolactone treatment on cMSC-EV release and tumor growth. RESULTS: Post-MI hearts, particularly cMSCs, produced more sEVs with proneoplastic cargo than nonfailing hearts did. Proteomic analysis revealed unique protein profiles and higher quantities of tumor-promoting cytokines, proteins, and microRNAs in cMSC-sEVs from post-MI hearts. The proneoplastic effects of cMSC-sEVs varied with different types of cancer, with lung and colon cancers being more affected than melanoma and breast cancer cell lines. Post-MI cMSC-sEVs also activated resting macrophages into proangiogenic and protumorigenic states in vitro. At 28-day follow-up, mice with post-MI LVD developed larger heterotopic and orthotopic lung tumors than did sham-MI mice. Adoptive transfer of cMSC-sEVs from post-MI hearts accelerated the growth of heterotopic and orthotopic lung tumors, and biodistribution analysis revealed accumulating cMSC-sEVs in tumor cells along with accelerated tumor cell proliferation. sEV depletion reduced the tumor-promoting effects of MI, and adoptive transfer of cMSC-sEVs from post-MI hearts partially restored these effects. Finally, spironolactone treatment reduced the number of cMSC-sEVs and suppressed tumor growth during post-MI LVD. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac sEVs, specifically cMSC-sEVs from post-MI hearts, carry multiple protumorigenic factors. Uptake of cMSC-sEVs by cancer cells accelerates tumor growth. Treatment with spironolactone significantly reduces accelerated tumor growth after MI. Our results provide new insight into the mechanism connecting post-MI LVD to cancer and propose a translational option to mitigate this deadly association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1748
Number of pages20
Issue number22
StatePublished - 28 May 2024


  • cardio-oncology
  • extracellular vesicles
  • fibroblasts
  • heart failure
  • inflammation
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • myocardial infarction
  • neoplasms
  • spironolactone

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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