Uveal melanoma is a tumour arising from melanocytes of the eye, and 30 per cent of these patients develop liver metastases. Exosomes are small RNA containing nano-vesicles released by most cells, including malignant melanoma cells. This clinical translational study included patients undergoing isolated hepatic perfusion (IHP) for metastatic uveal melanoma, from whom exosomes were isolated directly from liver perfusates. The objective was to determine whether exosomes are present in the liver circulation, and to ascertain whether these may originate from melanoma cells.
Exosomes were isolated from the liver perfusate of twelve patients with liver metastases from uveal melanoma undergoing IHP. Exosomes were visualised by electron microscopy, and characterised by flow cytometry, Western blot and real-time PCR. Furthermore, the concentration of peripheral blood exosomes were measured and compared to healthy controls.
The liver perfusate contained Melan-A positive and RNA containing exosomes, with similar miRNA profiles among patients, but dissimilar miRNA compared to exosomes isolated from tumor cell cultures. Patients with metastatic uveal melanoma had a higher concentration of exosomes in their peripheral venous blood compared to healthy controls.