Profiling of extracellular vesicles of metastatic urothelial cancer patients to discover protein signatures related to treatment outcome

Extracellular Vesicles

The prognosis of metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) patients is poor, and early prediction of systemic therapy response would be valuable to improve outcome. In this exploratory study, we investigated protein profiles in sequential plasma-isolated extracellular vesicles (EVs) from a subset of mUC patients treated within a Phase I trial with vinflunine combined with sorafenib. The isolated EVs were of exosome size and expressed exosome markers CD9, TSG101 and SYND-1. We found, no association between EVs/ml plasma at baseline and progression-free survival (PFS). Protein profiling of EVs, using an antibody-based 92-plex Proximity Extension Assay on the Oncology II® platform, revealed a heterogeneous protein expression pattern. Qlucore bioinformatic analyses put forward a protein signature comprising of SYND-1, TNFSF13, FGF-BP1, TFPI-2, GZMH, ABL1 and ERBB3 to be putatively associated with PFS. Similarly, a protein signature from EVs that related to best treatment response was found, which included FR-alpha, TLR 3, TRAIL and FASLG. Several of the markers in the PFS or best treatment response signatures were also identified by a machine learning classification algorithm. In conclusion, protein profiling of EVs isolated from plasma of mUC patients shows a potential to identify protein signatures that may associate with PFS and/or treatment response.

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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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