Exosomes are nanovesicles shed by cells into their microenvironment and carry the molecular identity of their mother cells. These vesicles are actively involved in intercellular communication under physiological conditions and ultimately in the spread of various diseases such as cancer. As they are accessible in most biofluids (e.g., blood, urine, or saliva), these biological entities are promising tools for cancer diagnostics, offering a non-invasive and remote access to the molecular state of the disease. The composition of exosomes derived from cancer cells depends on the sort and state of the tumor, requiring a screening of multiple antigens to fully characterize the disease.
Researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne report on a generic method to detect and identify the molecular profile of exosomes either derived from cultured cell lines or isolated from biofluids. Here, they exploited the capacity of surface plasmon resonance biosensing to detect simultaneously multiple exosomal and cancer biomarkers on exosomes derived from breast cancer cells. They developed an immunosensor surface which provides efficient and specific capture of exosomes, together with their identification through their distinct molecular profiles. The successful analysis of blood samples demonstrated the suitability of this bioanalytical procedure for clinical use.