Extracellular vesicle isolation from human renal cancer tissue

Richard C. Zieren, Liang Dong, Phillip M. Pierorazio, Kenneth J. Pienta, Theo M. de Reijke, Sarah R. Amend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Renal cell carcinoma is a lethal disease that is often discovered incidentally. New non-invasive biomarkers are needed to aid diagnosis and treatment. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), membranous vesicles secreted by all cells, are a promising potential source for cancer biomarkers, but new methods are required that are both sensitive and specific for cancer identification. We have developed an EV isolation protocol optimized for kidney tumor and normal kidney tissue that yields a high vesicle concentration, confirmed by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NanoSight) and by nanoscale flow cytometry (NanoFCM). Using Western blot, we confirmed presence of EV markers CD81, CD63, flotillin-1, and absence of cellular debris, calnexin. Transmission electron microscopy images demonstrate intact membranous EVs. This new method improves existing protocols with additional steps to reduce contaminants in the EV product. Characterization of our isolation product confirms successful isolation of EVs with minimal contamination. The particle yields of our protocol are consistent and high as assessed by both standard and novel methods. This optimized protocol will contribute to biomarker discovery and biological studies of EVs in renal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Exosomes
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Human kidney
  • Isolation methods
  • Renal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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