Tumour-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) are of increasing interest as a resource of diagnostic biomarkers. However, most EV assays require large samples and are time-consuming, low-throughput and costly, and thus impractical for clinical use. Here, we describe a rapid, ultrasensitive and inexpensive nanoplasmon-enhanced scattering (nPES) assay that directly quantifies tumour-derived EVs from as little as 1 μl of plasma. The assay uses the binding of antibody-conjugated gold nanospheres and nanorods to EVs captured by EV-specific antibodies on a sensor chip to produce a local plasmon effect that enhances tumour-derived EV detection sensitivity and specificity. We identified a pancreatic cancer EV biomarker, ephrin type-A receptor 2 (EphA2), and demonstrate that an nPES assay for EphA2-EVs distinguishes pancreatic cancer patients from pancreatitis patients and healthy subjects. EphA2-EVs were also informative in staging tumour progression and in detecting early responses to neoadjuvant therapy, with better performance than a conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The nPES assay can be easily refined for clinical use, and readily adapted for diagnosis and monitoring of other conditions with disease-specific EV biomarkers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science Applications