Proteomic Analysis of Neuroblastoma-Derived Exosomes: New Insights Into a Metastatic Signature

Proteomics. 2017 Dec;17(23-24). doi: 10.1002/pmic.201600430. Epub 2017 Sep 12.


Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial pediatric solid tumor. Around 70% of patients with metastatic disease at diagnosis present bone-marrow infiltration, which is considered a marker of poor outcome; however, the mechanism underlying this specific tropism has to be elucidated. Tumor-derived exosomes may support metastatic progression in several tumors by interacting with the microenvironment, and may serve as tumor biomarkers. The main objective of this study is to identify an exosomal signature associated with NB metastatic bone-marrow dissemination. Therefore, the proteomic cargo of exosomes isolated from NB cell lines derived from primary tumor and bone-marrow metastasis is characterized. The comparison among exosomal proteins show 15 proteins exclusively present in primary tumor-derived exosomes, mainly involved in neuronal development, and 6 proteins in metastasis-derived exosomes related to cancer progression. Significant proteins obtain with statistical analysis performed between the two groups, reveal that primary tumor exosomes contain a higher level of proteins involved in extra-cellular matrix (ECM) assembly and adhesion, as well as in neuronal development. Exosomes isolated from bone-marrow metastasis exhibit proteins involved in ameboidal cell migration and mitochondrial activity. This work suggests that proteomic profiling of NB-derived exosomes reflects the tumor stage and may be considered as potential tumor biomarker.

Keywords: cell biology; exosomes; metastasis; neuroblastoma; signature.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow Neoplasms / secondary
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Disease Progression
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Proteome