Exosomes as a new frontier of cancer liquid biopsy

Extracellular Vesicles

Yu, Dan, Yixin Li, Maoye Wang, Jianmei Gu, Wenrong Xu, Hui Cai, Xinjian Fang, and Xu Zhang. 2022. “Exosomes as a New Frontier of Cancer Liquid Biopsy.” Molecular Cancer 21 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12943-022-01509-9.

Liquid biopsy, characterized by minimally invasive detection through biofluids such as blood, saliva, and urine, has emerged as a revolutionary strategy for cancer diagnosis and prognosis prediction. Exosomes are a subset of extracellular vesicles (EVs) that shuttle molecular cargoes from donor cells to recipient cells and play a crucial role in mediating intercellular communication. Increasing studies suggest that exosomes have a great promise to serve as novel biomarkers in liquid biopsy, since large quantities of exosomes are enriched in body fluids and are involved in numerous physiological and pathological processes. However, the further clinical application of exosomes has been greatly restrained by the lack of high-quality separation and component analysis methods. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview on the conventional and novel technologies for exosome isolation, characterization and content detection. Additionally, the roles of exosomes serving as potential biomarkers in liquid biopsy for the diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and prognosis prediction of cancer are summarized. Finally, the prospects and challenges of applying exosome-based liquid biopsy to precision medicine are evaluated.

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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.

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