It is known that an association exists between obesity and the risk of prostate cancer (PCa).

Crosstalk between adipose tissue and PCa has been demonstrated; however, the study of this dialogue has been limited to metabolites and adipokines, although emerging evidence points to a key role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the control of tumour progression. EVs are nano-sized particles that can be found in various body fluids (i. e. blood), transferring proteins and RNAs from the originating cells to both neighbouring and distant cells. Herein, we demonstrated that adipocyte EVs can affect PCa cell features, promoting tumour proliferation, invasion, metabolism and chemoresistance and thus driving cancer aggressiveness. Since the EV-mediated interactions involve distant tissues and occur in a 3D microenvironment, a complex organ-on-chip coculture based on the MIVO® technology will be adopted to emulate the circulatory system responsible for EV transfer, generating an innovative and physiologically relevant model overcoming the limitations of in vivo assays.


Fabrizio Fontana completed his PhD in Integrated Biomedical Research in 2019, studying the role of cell metabolism in prostate cancer progression. In the same year, he attended Prof. Dave Carter’s lab, Oxford Brookes University, to investigate the role of extracellular vesicles in breast cancer metastasis.

Since 2020, he has been employed as an AIRC post-doc fellow at the Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences at University of Milan, where he has been conducting a research project aimed at dissecting the role of extracellular vesicles in the prostate cancer microenvironment, with a focus on the crosstalk between tumour cells and adipocytes.