Exosomal proteins as prognostic biomarkers in non-small cell lung cancer

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. We here evaluate exosomes by protein phenotyping as a prognostic biomarker in NSCLC.

Researchers from Aarhus University Hospital phenotyped exosomes from the plasma of 276 NSCLC patients 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).

Exosomal membrane and membrane-associated proteins


Hierarchical cluster analysis showed much expression variety among the patients without favouring any of the clinical characteristics of histology, stage, age or sex. Co-expression of several of the exosomal membrane-bound proteins was observed

The researchers illustrate the promising aspects associated with the use of exosomal membrane-bound proteins as a biomarker and demonstrate that they are a strong prognostic biomarker in NSCLC.

Sandfeld-Paulsen B, Aggerholm-Pedersen N, Bæk R, Jakobsen KR, Meldgaard P, Folkersen BH, Rasmussen TR, Varming K, Jørgensen MM, Sorensen BS. (2016) Exosomal proteins as prognostic biomarkers in non-small cell lung cancer. Mol Oncol [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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