Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have brought great momentum to the non-invasive liquid biopsy procedure for the detection, characterization, and monitoring of cancer. Despite the common use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) as a biomarker for prostate cancer, there is an unmet need for a more specific diagnostic tool to detect tumor progression and recurrence. Exosomes, which are EVs that are released from all cells, play a large role in physiology and pathology, including cancer. They are involved in intercellular communication, immune function, and they are present in every bodily fluid studied-making them an excellent window into how cells are operating. With liquid biopsy, EVs can be isolated and analyzed, enabling an insight into a potential therapeutic value, serving as a vehicle for drugs or nucleic acids that have anti-neoplastic effects. The current application of advanced technology also points to higher-sensitivity detection methods that are minimally invasive. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai discuss the current understanding of the significance of exosomes in prostate cancer and the potential diagnostic value of these EVs in disease progression.
Barcode plot figure showing significantly higher enrichments in exosomes compared to cells associated with immune response (n = 236 transcripts), apoptosis and DNA repair (n = 200), and prostate cancer (n = 262).
The barcode plot shows the log2 fold change in the X-axis. The Y-axis is composed by score (-log10 false discovery rate or adjusted p values) and enrichment (gene set-weighted density estimation). The middle bar and colored histogram in either top or bottom of the bar reflect the number of differentially expressed genes (adjusted p values < 0.05). The bottom section of the figure shows the standardized expression profiles of genes associated to the pathways showed in the top section.