mRNA in exosomes as a liquid biopsy in non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Researchers from the Spanish lymphoma oncology group set out to determine the feasibility of mRNAs (C-MYC, BCL-XL, BCL-6, NF-κβ, PTEN and AKT) in exosomes of plasma as a liquid biopsy method for monitoring and prognostic evolution in B-cell lymphomas.

Exosomes were isolated from 98 patients with B-cell Lymphoma and 68 healthy controls. mRNAs were analyzed by quantitative PCR. An additional 31 post-treatment samples were also studied.

In the general and follicular lymphoma series, the presence of AKT mRNA was associated with poor response to rituximab-based treatment. Patients with first relapse or disease progression showed a lower percentage of PTEN and BCL-XL mRNA. The presence of BCL-6 mRNA was associated with a high death rate. The absence of PTEN mRNA in the general series, and presence of C-MYC mRNA in follicular lymphomas, were associated with short progression-free survival. BCL-6 and C-MYC mRNA were independent prognostic variables of overall survival. C-MYC mRNA may provide prognostic information with respect to overall survival. BCL-XL mRNA and increase of BCL-6 mRNA in post-treatment samples could serve as molecular monitoring markers.


Kaplan-Meier OS curves in relation to presence of C-MYC (A) and BCL-6 (B) mRNA in exosomes of pretreatment plasma samples from responsive patients group to rituximab-based chemotherapy. Continuous curves show cases with mRNA absence and discontinuous curves show cases with mRNA presence.

This is the first large study to evaluate the prognostic and predictive values of pretreatment tumor-associated mRNA in exosomes. BCL-6 and C-MYC mRNA positivity in pretreatment samples were predictors of worse PFS compared to patients with mRNA negativity. C-MYC mRNA positivity was also a statistically significant predictor of inability to obtain complete response with first-line therapy.

Provencio M, Rodríguez M, Cantos B, Sabín P, Quero C, García-Arroyo FR, Rueda A, Maximiano C, Rodríguez-Abreu D, Sánchez A, Silva J, García V; GOTEL (Spanish Lymphoma Oncology Group). (2017) mRNA in exosomas as a liquid biopsy in non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: a multicentric study by the Spanish lymphoma oncology group. Oncotarget [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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