Serum extracellular vesicles contain SPARC and LRG1 as biomarkers of colon cancer and differ by tumour primary location

EBioMedicine. 2019 Dec;50:211-223. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.11.003. Epub 2019 Nov 18.


Background: Recently, the distinction between left- and right-sided colon cancer (LCC and RCC) has been brought into focus. RCC is associated with an inferior overall survival and progression-free survival. We aimed to perform a detailed analysis of the diversity of extracellular vesicles (EV) between LCC and RCC using quantitative proteomics and to identify for new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.

Methods: We isolated EVs from patients with LCC, RCC and healthy volunteers, and treated colorectal cancer cell line with serum-derived EVs. We then performed a quantitative proteomics analysis of the serum-derived EVs and cell line treated with EVs. Proteomic data are available via ProteomeXchange with the identifiers PXD012283 and PXD012304. In addition, we assessed the performance of EV SPARC and LRG1 as diagnosis and prognosis biomarkers in colon cancer.

Findings: The expression profile of the serum EV proteome in patients with RCC was different from that of patients with LCC. Serum-derived EVs in RCC promoted cellular mobility more significantly than EVs derived from LCC. EV SPARC and LRG1 expression levels demonstrated area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve values of 0.95 and 0.93 for discriminating patients with colon cancer from healthy controls. Moreover, the expression levels of SPARC and LRG1 correlated with tumour sidedness and were predictive of tumour recurrence.

Interpretation: We identified differences in EV protein profiles between LCC and RCC. Serum-derived EVs of RCC may promote metastasis via upregulation of extracellular matrix (ECM)-related proteins, especially SPARC and LRG1, which may serve as diagnosis and prognosis biomarkers in colon cancer.

Keywords: Colon cancer; Extracellular vesicles; Metastasis; Proteomics; Tumour location.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chemical Fractionation
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / blood
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Osteonectin / blood
  • Osteonectin / metabolism*
  • Proteome
  • Proteomics / methods
  • ROC Curve
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Glycoproteins
  • LRG1 protein, human
  • Osteonectin
  • Proteome
  • SPARC protein, human