What is the blood concentration of extracellular vesicles? Implications for the use of extracellular vesicles as blood-borne biomarkers of cancer

Kasper Bendix Johnsen*, Johann Mar Gudbergsson, Thomas Lars Andresen, Jens Bæk Simonsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Abstract

Circulating biomarkers have a great potential in diagnosing cancer diseases at early stages, where curative treatment is a realistic possibility. In the recent years, using extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from blood as biomarkers has gained widespread popularity, mainly because they are thought to be easy to isolate and carry a vast variety of biological cargos that can be analyzed for biomarker purposes. However, our current knowledge on the plasma EV concentration in normophysiological states is sparse. Here, we provide the very first mean estimate of the plasma EV concentration based on values obtained from a thorough literature review. The different estimates obtained from the literature are correlated to the isolation techniques used to obtain them, illustrating how some methodologies may over- or underestimate the plasma EV concentration. We also show that the estimated plasma EV concentration (approximately 1010 EVs per mL) defines EVs as a minority population compared to other colloidal particles of the systemic circulation, namely the lipoproteins, which are known contaminants in EV isolates and carry biomarker molecules themselves. Lastly, we introduce the possibility of regarding EVs and lipoproteins as a continuum of lipid-containing particles to which biomarker molecules can be associated. Using such a holistic approach, increased strength of plasma-derived cancer biomarkers may soon be revealed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBBA Reviews on Cancer
Volume1871
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)109-116
ISSN0304-419X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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