Case Report: Analysis of Plasma Extracellular Vesicles in a Triple Negative Spindle-Cell Metaplastic Breast Cancer Patient

Extracellular Vesicles

Metaplastic breast cancer (MpBC) is a rare tumor representing 1% of all breast malignancies. The prognosis of this histologic subtype is actually poor and there are no current clear-cut therapeutic guidelines. Hence, despite its uniqueness, its aggressive prognostic profile strongly encourages further studies to identify new markers and therapeutic targets. Herein, we report a case of 32-years-old patient affected with of triple negative spindle-shaped MpBC. The research of molecular targets on the primary tumor did not allow performing an effective therapeutic choice. Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) are under intense study as new potential pathophysiological markers and targets for therapeutic applications, in different tumors for their role in tumor onset, progression and aggressiveness. Here, we examined the involvement of EVs in this case, to look into the MpBC microenvironment willing to identify new potential molecular targets, pathways of aggressiveness, and markers of prognosis and therapeutic efficacy. Firstly, we characterized MpBC patient EV dimensions and surface proteins. Moreover, we analyzed the EV RNA cargo supposed to be delivered to nearby and distant recipient cells. Interestingly, we observed a dysregulation EV-contained miRNAs, which could determine an increased expression of oncogenes in the tumor microenvironment, probably enabling cancer progression. These data suggest that the characterization of miRNA cargo of EVs could be important for the identification of new markers and for the application of future new target therapies.

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.