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Detection of Tumor DNA in Human Plasma with a Functional PLL-Based Surface Layer and Plasmonic Biosensing

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journal contribution
posted on 25.05.2021, 16:34 by Noemi Bellassai, Roberta D’Agata, Almudena Marti, Andrea Rozzi, Stefano Volpi, Matteo Allegretti, Roberto Corradini, Patrizio Giacomini, Jurriaan Huskens, Giuseppe Spoto
Standard protocols for the analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) include the isolation of DNA from the patient’s plasma and its amplification and analysis in buffered solutions. The application of such protocols is hampered by several factors, including the complexity and time-constrained preanalytical procedures, risks for sample contamination, extended analysis time, and assay costs. A recently introduced nanoparticle-enhanced surface plasmon resonance imaging-based assay has been shown to simplify procedures for the direct detection of tumor DNA in the patient’s plasma, greatly simplifying the cumbersome preanalytical phase. To further simplify the protocol, a new dual-functional low-fouling poly-l-lysine (PLL)-based surface layer has been introduced that is described herein. The new PLL-based layer includes a densely immobilized CEEEEE oligopeptide to create a charge-balanced system preventing the nonspecific adsorption of plasma components on the sensor surface. The layer also comprises sparsely attached peptide nucleic acid probes complementary to the sequence of circulating DNA, e.g., the analyte that has to be captured in the plasma from cancer patients. We thoroughly investigated the contribution of each component of the dual-functional polymer to the antifouling properties of the surface layer. The low-fouling property of the new surface layer allowed us to detect wild-type and KRAS p.G12D-mutated DNA in human plasma at the attomolar level (∼2.5 aM) and KRAS p.G13D-mutated tumor DNA in liquid biopsy from a cancer patient with almost no preanalytical treatment of the patient’s plasma, no need to isolate DNA from plasma, and without PCR amplification of the target sequence.