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J Extracell Vesicles. 2018 Apr 5;7(1):1458574. doi: 10.1080/20013078.2018.1458574. eCollection 2018.

Profiling plasma extracellular vesicle by pluronic block-copolymer based enrichment method unveils features associated with breast cancer aggression, metastasis and invasion.

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Caris Life Sciences, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.


Extracellular vesicle (EV)-based liquid biopsies have been proposed to be a readily obtainable biological substrate recently for both profiling and diagnostics purposes. Development of a fast and reliable preparation protocol to enrich such small particles could accelerate the discovery of informative, disease-related biomarkers. Though multiple EV enrichment protocols are available, in terms of efficiency, reproducibility and simplicity, precipitation-based methods are most amenable to studies with large numbers of subjects. However, the selectivity of the precipitation becomes critical. Here, we present a simple plasma EV enrichment protocol based on pluronic block copolymer. The enriched plasma EV was able to be verified by multiple platforms. Our results showed that the particles enriched from plasma by the copolymer were EV size vesicles with membrane structure; proteomic profiling showed that EV-related proteins were significantly enriched, while high-abundant plasma proteins were significantly reduced in comparison to other precipitation-based enrichment methods. Next-generation sequencing confirmed the existence of various RNA species that have been observed in EVs from previous studies. Small RNA sequencing showed enriched species compared to the corresponding plasma. Moreover, plasma EVs enriched from 20 advanced breast cancer patients and 20 age-matched non-cancer controls were profiled by semi-quantitative mass spectrometry. Protein features were further screened by EV proteomic profiles generated from four breast cancer cell lines, and then selected in cross-validation models. A total of 60 protein features that highly contributed in model prediction were identified. Interestingly, a large portion of these features were associated with breast cancer aggression, metastasis as well as invasion, consistent with the advanced clinical stage of the patients. In summary, we have developed a plasma EV enrichment method with improved precipitation selectivity and it might be suitable for larger-scale discovery studies.


Extracellular vesicles; F68; aggression; breast cancer; exosome; invasion; metastasis; pluronic block-copolymer

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