Sensitive Detection of Exosomal Proteins via a Compact Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensor for Cancer Diagnosis

Chang Liu, Xie Zeng, Zijian An, Yunchen Yang, Maxwell Eisenbaum, Xiaodong Gu, Josep M. Jornet, Grace K. Dy, Mary E. Reid, Qiaoqiang Gan, Yun Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles released by cells for cell-cell communication. They play important roles in cancer development, metastasis, and drug resistance. Exosomal proteins have been demonstrated by many studies as promising biomarkers for cancer screening, diagnosis, and monitoring. Among many detection techniques, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a highly sensitive, label-free, and real-time optical detection method. Commercial prism-based wavelength/angular-modulated SPR sensors afford high sensitivity and resolution, but their large footprint and high cost limit their adaptability for clinical settings. Recently, a nanoplasmonic exosome (nPLEX) assay was developed to detect exosomal proteins for ovarian cancer diagnosis. However, comparing with conventional SPR biosensors, the broad applications of nanoplasmonic biosensors are limited by the difficult and expensive fabrication of nanostructures. We have developed an intensity-modulated, compact SPR biosensor (25 cm × 10 cm × 25 cm) which uses a conventional SPR sensing mechanism and does not require nanostructure fabrication. Calibration from glycerol showed that the compact SPR biosensor offered sensitivity of 9.258 × 103%/RIU and resolution of 8.311 × 10-6 RIU. We have demonstrated the feasibility of the compact SPR biosensor in lung cancer diagnosis using exosomal epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) as biomarkers. It detected a higher level of exosomal EGFR from A549 nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells than BEAS-2B normal cells. With human serum samples, the compact SPR biosensor detected similar levels of exosomal EGFR in NSCLC patients and normal controls, and higher expression of exosomal PD-L1 in NSCLC patients than normal controls. The compact SPR biosensor showed higher detection sensitivity than ELISA and similar sensing accuracy as ELISA. It is a simple and user-friendly sensing platform, which may serve as an in vitro diagnostic test for cancer.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1479
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 24 2018
Externally publishedYes

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