Masterson AN, et al. Analyst 2020.
Studies have shown that microRNAs, which are small noncoding RNAs, hold tremendous promise as next-generation circulating biomarkers for early cancer detection via liquid biopsies. A novel, solid-state nanoplasmonic sensor capable of assaying circulating microRNAs through a combined surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and plasmon-enhanced fluorescence (PEF) approach has been developed. Here, the unique localized surface plasmon resonance properties of chemically-synthesized gold triangular
nanoprisms (Au TNPs) are utilized to create large SERS and PEF enhancements. With careful modification to the surface of Au TNPs, this sensing approach is capable of quantifying circulating microRNAs at femtogram/microliter concentrations. Uniquely, the multimodal analytical methods mitigate both false positive and false negative responses and demonstrate the high stability of our sensors within bodily fluids. As a proof of concept, microRNA-10b and microRNA-96 were directly assayed from the plasma of six bladder cancer patients. Results show potential for a highly specific liquid biopsy method that could be used in point-of-care clinical diagnostics to increase early cancer detection or any other diseases including SARS-CoV-2 in which RNAs can be used as biomarkers.