Evaluation of microRNA in extracellular vesicles from blood of patients with prostate cancer

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) contain various types of molecules including microRNAs, so isolating EVs can be an effective way to analyze and diagnose diseases. A lot of microRNAs have been known in relation to prostate cancer (PCa), and researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology evaluated miR-21, miR-141, and miR-221 in EVs and compared them with prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

EVs were isolated from plasma of 38 patients with prostate cancer and 8 patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), using a method that showed the highest recovery of RNA. Isolation of EVs concentrated microRNAs, reducing the cycle threshold (Ct) value of RT-qPCR amplification of microRNA such as miR-16 by 5.12 and miR-191 by 4.65, compared to the values before EV isolation. Normalization of target microRNAs was done using miR-191.

Characterization of EVs from plasma

EVs were isolated by Exo2D. (A) TEM image of EVs. A scale bar with 200 nm length. (B) EV markers identified by Western blots. LnCap, a prostate cancer cell line, was used as a positive control. (C) Size distribution of EVs measured by Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis. Proportion of particles at each size in total population of particles was represented as percentage.

For miR-221, the mean expression level of patients with localized PCa was significantly higher than that of the control group, having 33.45 times higher expression than the control group (p < 0.01). Area under curve (AUC) between BPH and PCa for miR-221 was 0.98 (p < 0.0001), which was better than AUC for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in serum for the same patients. The levels of miR-21 and miR-141 in EVs did not show significant changes in patients with PCa compared to the control group in this study. This study suggests isolating EVs can be a helpful approach in analyzing micro-RNAs with regard to disease.

Kim J, Cho S, Park Y, Lee J, Park J (2021) Evaluation of micro-RNA in extracellular vesicles from blood of patients with prostate cancer. PLoS ONE 16(12): e0262017. [article]

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