Lessons to learn from tumor-educated platelets.

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Platelets have long been known to play important roles beyond hemostasis and thrombosis. Now recognized as a bonafide mediator of malignant disease, platelets influence various aspects of cancer progression, most notably tumor cell metastasis. Interestingly, platelets isolated from cancer patients often display distinct RNA and protein profiles, with no clear alterations in hemostatic activity. This phenotypically distinct population termed tumor-educated platelets now receive significant attention for their potential use as a readily available liquid biopsy for early cancer detection. Although the mechanisms underpinning platelet education are still being defined, direct uptake and storage of tumor-derived factors, signal-dependent changes in platelet RNA processing, and differential platelet production by tumor-educated megakaryocytes are the most prominent scenarios. This article aims to cover the various modalities of platelet education by tumors, in addition to assessing their diagnostic potential.

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Authors: Harvey George Roweth, Elisabeth M Battinelli