An integrated workflow for biomarker development using microRNAs in extracellular vesicles for cancer precision medicine
Chen, Yu, Tan Wu, Zhongxu Zhu, Hao Huang, Liang Zhang, Ajay Goel, Mengsu Yang, and Xin Wang. "An integrated workflow for biomarker development using microRNAs in extracellular vesicles for cancer precision medicine." In Seminars in Cancer Biology. Academic Press, 2021.
EV-miRNAs are microRNA (miRNA) molecules encapsulated in extracellular vesicles (EVs), which play crucial roles in tumor pathogenesis, progression, and metastasis. Recent studies about EV-miRNAs have gained novel insights into cancer biology and have demonstrated a great potential to develop novel liquid biopsy assays for various applications. Notably, compared to conventional liquid biomarkers, EV-miRNAs are more advantageous in representing host-cell molecular architecture and exhibiting higher stability and specificity. Despite various available techniques for EV-miRNA separation, concentration, profiling, and data analysis, a standardized approach for EV-miRNA biomarker development is yet lacking. In this review, we performed a substantial literature review and distilled an integrated workflow encompassing important steps for EV-miRNA biomarker development, including sample collection and EV isolation, EV-miRNA extraction and quantification, high-throughput data preprocessing, biomarker prioritization and model construction, functional analysis, as well as validation. With the rapid growth of “big data”, we highlight the importance of efficient mining of high-throughput data for the discovery of EV-miRNA biomarkers and integrating multiple independent datasets for in silico and experimental validations to increase the robustness and reproducibility. Furthermore, as an efficient strategy in systems biology, network inference provides insights into the regulatory mechanisms and can be used to select functionally important EV-miRNAs to refine the biomarker candidates. Despite the encouraging development in the field, a number of challenges still hinder the clinical translation. We finally summarize several common challenges in various biomarker studies and discuss potential opportunities emerging in the related fields.View full article