Exosome-mediated diagnosis of pancreatic cancer using lectin-conjugated nanoparticles bound to selective glycans

Biosens Bioelectron. 2021 Apr 1;177:112980. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2021.112980. Epub 2021 Jan 6.


The unique profile of upregulated glycosylation in metastatic cancer cells may form the basis for the development of new biomarkers for the targeting and diagnosis of specific cancers. This study introduces a pancreatic cancer cell-derived exosome detection technology, which is based on the specific binding of lectins to distinctive glycan profiles on the surface of exosomes. Lectins with a high and specific affinity for sialic acid or fucose were attached to bifunctional Janus nanoparticles (JNPs), which facilitated interactions with pancreatic cancer cell-derived exosomes in a microfluidic device. Here, we show that pancreatic cancer cell-derived exosomes from two cell lines and plasma samples collected from patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer were successfully captured on the lectin-conjugated JNPs with affinities that were comparable to those of CA19-9, a conventional antibody. In addition, exosome detection using our platform could differentiate between metastatic and nonmetastatic pancreatic cancer cells. This study opens the possibility to achieve a new early diagnosis marker based on the glycan properties of pancreatic cancer cell-derived exosomes.

Keywords: Exosome; Glycan; Janus nanoparticles; Lectin; Metastatic cancer; Pancreatic cancer.