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.