A novel microRNA signature for the detection of melanoma by liquid biopsy

Extracellular Vesicles

Background Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and metastatic disease is associated with a significant survival rate drop. There is an urgent need for consistent tumor biomarkers to scale precision medicine and reduce cancer mortality. Here, we aimed to identify a melanoma-specific circulating microRNA signature and assess its value as a diagnostic tool. Methods The study consisted of a discovery phase and two validation phases. Circulating plasma extracellular vesicles (pEV) associated microRNA profiles were obtained from a discovery cohort of metastatic melanoma patients and normal subjects as controls. A pEV-microRNA signature was obtained using a LASSO penalized logistic regression model. The pEV-microRNA signature was subsequently validated both in a publicly available dataset and in an independent internal cohort. Results We identified and validated in three independent cohorts a panel of melanoma-specific circulating microRNAs that showed high accuracy in differentiating melanoma patients from healthy subjects with an area under the curve (AUC) of 1.00, 0.94 and 0.75 respectively. Investigation of the function of the pEV-microRNA signature evidenced their possible immune suppressive role in melanoma patients. Conclusions We demonstrate that a blood test based on circulating microRNAs can non-invasively detect melanoma, offering a novel diagnostic tool for improving standard care. Moreover, we revealed an immune suppressive role for melanoma pEV-microRNAs.

View full article

Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.