The potential of circulating exosomal RNA biomarkers in cancer

Yin Lam Chu, Harriet Li, Pik Lan Amanda Ng, Siu Ting Kong, Hao Zhang, Yusheng Lin, William Chi Shing Tai, Allen Chi Shing Yu, Aldrin Kay Yuen Yim, Hin Fung Tsang, William Chi Shing Cho, Sze Chuen Cesar Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: There are great potentials of using exosomal RNAs (exoRNA) as biomarkers in cancers. The isolation of exoRNA requires the use of ultracentrifugation to isolate cell-free RNA followed by detection using real-time PCR, microarray, next-generation sequencing, or Nanostring nCounter system. The use of exoRNA enrichment panels has largely increased the detection sensitivity and specificity when compared to traditional diagnostic tests. Moreover, using exoRNA as biomarkers can assist the early detection of chemo and radioresistance cancer, and in turn opens up the possibility of personalized treatment to patients. Finally, exoRNA can be detected at an early stage of cancer recurrence to improve the survival rate. Areas covered: In this review, the authors summarized the detection methods of exoRNA as well as its potential as a biomarker in cancer diagnosis and chemo and radioresistance. Expert opinion: The application of exoRNAs in clinical diagnosis is still in its infancy. Further researches on extracellular vesicles isolation, detection protocols, exoRNA classes and subclasses, and the regulatory biological pathways have to be performed before exoRNA can be applied translationally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-678
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • cancer monitoring
  • early detection
  • exoRNA
  • Exosomal RNA
  • noninvasive screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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