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DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.27678; PMCID: PMC7415402


Purpose: Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFT), the second most common pediatric osseous malignancy, are characterized by the pathognomonic chromosomal EWS-ETS translocation. Outside of tumor biopsy, no clinically relevant ESFT biomarkers exist. Additionally, tumor burden assessment at diagnosis, monitoring of disease responsiveness to therapy, and detection of disease recurrence are limited to radiographic imaging. To identify new, clinically relevant biomarkers we evaluated the proteome of a subset of ESFT-derived small extracellular vesicles (sEVs).

Materials and methods: We performed the first high quality proteomic study of ESFT-derived sEVs from 5 ESFT cell lines representing the most common EWS-ETS fusion types and identified 619 proteins composing the core ESFT sEV proteome. We compared these core proteins to databases of common plasma-based proteins and sEV-associated proteins found within healthy plasma to identify proteins unique or enriched within ESFT.

Results: From these analyses, two membrane bound proteins with biomarker potential were selected, CD99/MIC2 and NGFR, to develop a liquid-based assay enriching of ESFT-associated sEVs and detection of sEV mRNA cargo (i.e., EWS-ETS transcripts). We employed this immuno-enrichment approach to diagnosis of ESFT utilizing plasma (250 μl) from both localized and metastatic ESFT pediatric patients and cancer-free controls, and showed significant diagnostic power [AUC = 0.92, p = 0.001 for sEV numeration, with a PPV = 1.00, 95% CI = (0.63, 1.00) and a NPV = 0.67, 95% CI = (0.30, 0.93)].

Conclusions: In this study, we demonstrate utilization of circulating ESFT-associated sEVs in pediatric patients as a source of minimally invasive diagnostic and potentially prognostic biomarkers.

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EWS-ETS; Ewing sarcoma; biomarkers; exosomes; extracellular vesicles


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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