Two-Step Competitive Hybridization Assay: A Method for Analyzing Cancer-Related microRNA Embedded in Extracellular Vesicles
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With an increased understanding of the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in cancer evolution, there is a growing interest in the use of these non-coding nucleic acids in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment monitoring. miRNAs embedded in extracellular vesicles (EVs) are of particular interest given that circulating EVs carry cargo that are strongly correlated to their cells of origin such as tumor cells while protecting them from degradation. As such, there is a tremendous interest in new simple-to-operate vesicular microRNA analysis tools for widespread use in performing liquid biopsies. Herein, we present a two-step competitive hybridization assay that is rationally designed to translate low microRNA concentrations to large electrochemical signals as the measured signal is inversely proportional to the microRNA concentration. Using this assay, with a limit-of-detection of 122 aM, we successfully analyzed vesicular miRNA 200b from prostate cancer cell lines and human urine samples, demonstrating the expected lower expression levels of miRNA 200b in the EVs from prostate cancer cells and in the prostate cancer patient's urine samples compared to healthy patients and non-tumorigenic cell lines, validating the suitability of our approach for clinical analysis.
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