Blood-Derived Extracellular Vesicle-Associated miR-3182 Detects Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients

Extracellular Vesicles

With five-year survival rates as low as 3%, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. The severity of the disease at presentation is accredited to the lack of early detection capacities, resulting in the reliance on low-throughput diagnostic measures, such as tissue biopsy and imaging. Interest in the development and use of liquid biopsies has risen, due to non-invasive sample collection, and the depth of information it can provide on a disease. Small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) as viable liquid biopsies are of particular interest due to their potential as cancer biomarkers. To validate the use of sEVs as cancer biomarkers, we characterised cancer sEVs using miRNA sequencing analysis. We found that miRNA-3182 was highly enriched in sEVs derived from the blood of patients with invasive breast carcinoma and NSCLC. The enrichment of sEV miR-3182 was confirmed in oncogenic, transformed lung cells in comparison to isogenic, untransformed lung cells. Most importantly, miR-3182 can successfully distinguish early-stage NSCLC patients from those with benign lung conditions. Therefore, miR-3182 provides potential to be used for the detection of NSCLC in blood samples, which could result in earlier therapy and thus improved outcomes and survival for patients.

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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.

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