EGFR detection in extracellular vesicles of breast cancer patients through immunosensor based on silica-chitosan nanoplatform

Talanta. 2019 Mar 1;194:243-252. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2018.10.016. Epub 2018 Oct 13.


In the present work, we designed a microfluidic electrochemical immunosensor with enough sensibility and precision to quantify epithermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in plasma extracellular vesicles (EVs) of plasma from breast cancer patients. The sensor employs SiNPs coated with chitosan (SiNPs-CH) as reaction's platform, based on the covalently immobilization of monoclonal anti-EGFR on SiNPs-CH retained in the central channel (CC) of the microfluidic device. The synthetized SiNPs-CH were characterized by UV-visible spectroscopy (UV-visible), energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS), Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). EGFR was quantified by a direct sandwich immunoassay measuring through a horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated anti-EGFR. The enzymatic product (benzoquinone) was detected by reduction at - 100 mV on a sputtering gold electrode. The measured current was directly proportional to the level of EGFR in human serum samples. The linear range was from 0 ng mL-1 to 50 ng mL-1. The detection limit was 1.37 pg mL-1, and the within- and between-assay coefficients of variation were below 6.25%. Finally, plasma samples from 30 early breast cancer patients and 20 healthy donor were analyzed by the novel method. EGFR levels in EVs (EVs-EGFR) were significantly higher than in the healthy control group (p = 0.002) and also, more sensitivity and specificity than normal serum markers like CEA and CA15.3 has been observed. EVs-EGFR concentration correlates with EGFR tumor status (p = 0.0003) as well as it correlate with the tumor size and pathological grade. To conclude, plasma EVs are suitable for proteomic characterization of cancer disease, as long as the employed method has sufficient sensitivity, like the case of immune-electrochemical nanosensors with incremented reaction surface.

Keywords: EGFR; Epithelial cancer biomarker; Liquid biopsy; Microfluidic immunosensor; Nanoplatform.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chitosan / chemistry*
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / instrumentation
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • Limit of Detection
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*


  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Chitosan
  • ErbB Receptors