Label-free detection of exosomes using a surface plasmon resonance biosensor


The development of a sensitive and specific detection platform for exosomes is highly desirable as they are believed to transmit vital tumour-specific information (mRNAs, microRNAs, and proteins) to remote cells for secondary metastasis. Herein, we report a simple method for the real-time and label-free detection of clinically relevant exosomes using a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor. Our method shows high specificity in detecting BT474 breast cancer cell–derived exosomes particularly from complex biological samples (e.g. exosome spiked in serum). This approach exhibits high sensitivity by detecting as low as 8280 exosomes/μL which may potentially be suitable for clinical analysis. We believe that this label-free and real-time method along with the high specificity and sensitivity may potentially be useful for clinical settings.

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We acknowledge the support from the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) for SPR chip fabrication, and Center for Microscopy and Microanalysis (CMM) for cryo-TEM facility.


This study received funding from the Australian Research Council (DP180102868). AW received funding from the University of Queensland for the Development Fellowship (UQFEL1831057).

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Correspondence to Laura G. Carrascosa or Matt Trau.

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Sina, A.A.I., Vaidyanathan, R., Wuethrich, A. et al. Label-free detection of exosomes using a surface plasmon resonance biosensor. Anal Bioanal Chem 411, 1311–1318 (2019).

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  • Exosome
  • Surface plasmon resonance
  • Biosensor
  • Cancer biomarker
  • Cancer diagnosis