Use of exosomes as biomarkers in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is an intriguing approach in the liquid-biopsy era. Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles with membrane-bound proteins that reflect their originating cell. Prognostic biomarkers are needed to improve patient selection for optimal treatment. Researchers from Aarhus University Hospital evaluate exosomes by protein phenotyping as a prognostic biomarker in NSCLC.
Exosomes from plasma of 276 NSCLC patients were phenotyped using the Extracellular Vesicle Array; 49 antibodies captured the proteins on the exosomes, and a cocktail of biotin-conjugated antibodies binding the general exosome markers CD9, CD81 and CD63 was used to visualise the captured exosomes. For each individual membrane-bound protein, results were analysed based on presence, in a concentration-dependent manner, and correlated to overall survival (OS).
The 49 proteins attached to the exosomal membrane were evaluated. NY-ESO-1, EGFR, PLAP, EpCam and Alix had a significant concentration-dependent impact on inferior OS. Due to multiple testing, NY-ESO-1 was the only marker that maintained a significant impact on inferior survival (hazard rate (HR) 1.78 95% (1.78-2.44); p = 0.0001) after Bonferroni correction. Results were adjusted for clinico-pathological characteristics, stage, histology, age, sex and performance status.