Machine learning-based label-free SERS profiling of exosomes for accurate fuzzy diagnosis of cancer

Exosomes are a class of extracellular vesicles secreted by cells, which can be used as promising noninvasive biomarkers for the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases, especially cancer. However, due to the heterogeneity of exosomes, it remains a grand challenge to distinguish accurately and reliably exosomes from clinical samples. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have achieved accurate fuzzy discrimination of exosomes from human serum samples for accurate diagnosis of breast cancer and cervical cancer through machine learning-based label-free surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), by using “hot spot” rich 3D plasmonic AuNPs nanomembranes as substrates. Due to the existence of some weak distinguishable SERS fingerprint signals and the high sensitivity of the method, the machine learning-based SERS analysis can precisely identify three (normal and cancerous) cell lines, two of which are different types of cancer cells, without specific labeling of biomarkers. The prediction accuracy based on the machine learning algorithm was up to 91.1% for the discrimination of different cell lines (H8, HeLa, and MCF-7 cell)-derived exosomes. This model trained with SERS spectra of cell-derived exosomes could reach 93.3% prediction accuracy for clinical samples. Furthermore, the action mechanism of the chemotherapeutic process of MCF-7 cells can be revealed by dynamic monitoring of SERS profiling of the exosomes secreted. The method would be useful for noninvasive and accurate diagnosis and postoperative assessment of cancer or other diseases in the future.

Diao X, Li X, Hou S, Li H, Qi G, Jin Y. (2023) Machine Learning-Based Label-Free SERS Profiling of Exosomes for Accurate Fuzzy Diagnosis of Cancer and Dynamic Monitoring of Drug Therapeutic Processes. Anal Chem [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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