Article

Nanoplasmonic quantification of tumour-derived extracellular vesicles in plasma microsamples for diagnosis and treatment monitoring

  • Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, Article number: 0021 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/s41551-016-0021
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Abstract

Tumour-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) are of increasing interest as a resource of diagnostic biomarkers. However, most EV assays require large samples and are time-consuming, low-throughput and costly, and thus impractical for clinical use. Here, we describe a rapid, ultrasensitive and inexpensive nanoplasmon-enhanced scattering (nPES) assay that directly quantifies tumour-derived EVs from as little as 1 μl of plasma. The assay uses the binding of antibody-conjugated gold nanospheres and nanorods to EVs captured by EV-specific antibodies on a sensor chip to produce a local plasmon effect that enhances tumour-derived EV detection sensitivity and specificity. We identified a pancreatic cancer EV biomarker, ephrin type-A receptor 2 (EphA2), and demonstrate that an nPES assay for EphA2-EVs distinguishes pancreatic cancer patients from pancreatitis patients and healthy subjects. EphA2-EVs were also informative in staging tumour progression and in detecting early responses to neoadjuvant therapy, with better performance than a conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The nPES assay can be easily refined for clinical use, and readily adapted for diagnosis and monitoring of other conditions with disease-specific EV biomarkers.

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Acknowledgements

We thank P. Mcshane at Houston Methodist Hospital and M. W. Hurd at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for organizing clinical samples in this study. The work was primarily supported by research funding provided by NIH grants R01Al113725, R01AI122932, U54CA143837 and 5P50CA126752-08, an NIH intramural research program, a John S. Dunn Foundation award, a PANCAN-AACR Career Development Award (14-20-25-KOAY), a Radiological Society of North America seed grant (RSD1429), and the Sheikh Ahmed Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research and the Center for Radiation Oncology Research at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Nanomedicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute, 6670 Bertner Avenue, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • Kai Liang
    • , Fei Liu
    • , Jia Fan
    • , Dali Sun
    • , Christopher J. Lyon
    • , Kenji Yokoi
    •  & Ye Hu
  2. Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 Datum Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China

    • Kai Liang
    •  & Yan Li
  3. School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Virginia G. Piper Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, 1001 S. McAllister Avenue B 130-B, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA

    • Chang Liu
    •  & Ye Hu
  4. Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, 6565 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • David W. Bernard
  5. Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • Matthew H. Katz
  6. Division of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • Eugene J. Koay
  7. Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Building 10, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA

    • Zhen Zhao

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Contributions

K.L., F.L., J.F. and Y.H. designed the research plan. K.L., F.L., J.F., D.S. and C.L. performed the experiments. E.J.K., D.W.B., K.Y. and M.H.K. collected the clinical samples and clinical data. K.L., F.L. C.J.L., Y.L., Z.Z. and Y.H. performed data analysis. K.L., F.L., C.J.L., Z.Z. and Y.H. wrote the manuscript, and all authors contributed to the revision of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Kai Liang or Fei Liu or Ye Hu.

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