Hofmann L, et al. Int J Mol Sci 2020.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are highly immune suppressive and aggressive malignancies. As part of the tumor microenvironment, exosomes contribute to this immune suppression. The Fc receptor CD16 is widely expressed on monocytes, neutrophils, and natural killer (NK) cells and is involved in antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Here, surface levels of CD16 on total exosomes and tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) from plasma of HNSCC patients were analyzed regarding
their potential as liquid biomarkers for disease stage. Exosomes were isolated from plasma using mini size exclusion chromatography. TEX were enriched by immune affinity capture with CD44v3 antibodies. On-bead flow cytometry was used to measure CD16 levels on total exosomes and TEX. The results were correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Total exosomes from HNSCC patients had significantly higher CD16 levels compared to TEX. Further, CD16 surface levels of total exosomes, but not TEX, correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Patients with advanced tumor stages T3/4 and Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) stages III/IV had significantly higher CD16 levels on total exosomes compared to patients with early tumor stages T1/2 and UICC stages I/II, respectively. Overall, CD16 positive exosomes have the potential as liquid biomarkers for HNSCC tumor stage and aggressiveness.