Stoichiometric constraints for detection of EV-borne biomarkers in blood

08 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Stochiometric issues, encompassing both the quantity and heterogeneity of extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from tumor or other tissues in blood, pose important challenges across various stages of biomarker discovery and detection, affecting the integrity of data, introducing losses and artifacts during blood processing, EV purification, and analysis. These challenges shape the diagnostic utility of EVs especially within the framework of established and emerging methodologies. By addressing these challenges, we aim to delineate crucial parameters and requirements for tumor-specific EV detection, or more precisely, for tumor identification via EV based assays. Our endeavor involves a comprehensive examination of the layers that mask or confound the traceability of EV markers such as nucleic acids and proteins, and focus on "Low abundance - low occupancy" scenario. Finally, we evaluate the advantages vs. limitations of digital technologies over more conventional bulk assays, suggesting that the combined use of both to capture and interpret the EV signals, in particular the EV surface displayed proteins, may ultimately provide quantitative information on their absolute abundance and distribution.


Extracellular vesicles
liquid biopsy
marker quantification
bulk assays
single particle analyses
digital quantification
signal enhancement


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