Exosomes are RNA and protein-containing nanovesicles secreted by all cell types and found in abundance in body fluids, including blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid. These vesicles seem to be a perfect source of biomarkers, as their cargo largely reflects the content of parental cells, and exosomes originating from all organs can be obtained from circulation through minimally invasive or non-invasive means.
Here, researchers from Thermo Fisher Scientific describe an optimized procedure for exosome isolation and analysis using clinical samples, starting from quick and robust extraction of exosomes with Total exosome isolation reagent, next isolation of RNA followed by qRT-PCR. Effectiveness of this workflow is exemplified by analysis of the miRNA content of exosomes derived from serum samples – obtained from the patients with metastatic prostate cancer, treated prostate cancer patients who have undergone prostatectomy, and control patients without prostate cancer. Three promising exosomal microRNA biomarkers were identified, discriminating these groups: hsa-miR375, hsa-miR21, hsa-miR574.