Tumor-derived extracellular vesicles (tdEVs) are attracting much attention due to their essential function in intercellular communication and their potential as cancer biomarkers. Although tdEVs are significantly more abundant in blood than other cancer biomarkers, their concentration compared to other blood components remains relatively low. Moreover, the presence of particles in blood with a similar size as that of tdEVs makes their selective and sensitive detection further challenging. Therefore, highly sensitive and specific biosensors are required for unambiguous tdEV detection in complex biological environments, especially for decentralized point-of-care analysis. Here, we report an electrochemical sensing scheme for tdEV detection, with two-level selectivity provided by a sandwich immunoassay and two-level amplification through the combination of an enzymatic assay and redox cycling on nanointerdigitated electrodes to respectively enhance the specificity and sensitivity of the assay. Analysis of prostate cancer cell line tdEV samples at various concentrations revealed an estimated limit of detection for our assay as low as 5 tdEVs/μL, as well as an excellent linear sensor response spreading over 6 orders of magnitude (10-106 tdEVs/μL), which importantly covers the clinically relevant range for tdEV detection in blood. This novel nanosensor and associated sensing scheme opens new opportunities to detect tdEVs at clinically relevant concentrations from a single blood finger prick.
- enzymatic amplification
- redox cycling
- tumor-derived extracellular vesicles