Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Vasily Yakovlev

Second Advisor

Jennifer Koblinski

Third Advisor

Larisa Litovchick


Radiotherapy (RT) is a standard treatment for most breast cancer patients (BCPs), but is often accompanied by acute and late toxic effects in normal tissue. Exosomes are nano vesicles about 30-150nm in size that originate from the endosomal network and are found in most body fluids. Exosomes are a fundamental driver of intercellular communication by transferring proteins, lipids and microRNA (miRNA). Exosomal miRNA (Exo-miRNA) signatures may serve as non-invasive prediction biomarkers of post-radiation toxicities of BCPs. Eighty six BCPs treated in the Radiation Oncology Department were enrolled in an IRB approved study. BCPs were evaluated weekly during RT and at prescribed intervals following completion of RT for the development of toxicity LENT-SOMA scale. Acute toxicity effects were assessed using physician reported toxicity scale CTCAE v4. Blood samples were collected one day before RT. The PureExo® Exosome Isolation Kit was used to isolate exosomes from the plasma. Exo-miRNAs were isolated and cDNA was synthesized for all samples.
Exo-miRNAs were analyzed from the plasma of BCPs divided into four groups: (1) Low toxicity (n=9), (2) Moderate toxicity (n=45), (3) High acute toxicity (n=7), and (4) High late toxicity (n=25). For preliminary analysis, cDNA samples in each group were pooled together and the four groups were analyzed for the expression of 179 miRNAs commonly found in human serum/plasma. Twenty-four out of 179 tested exo-miRNAs demonstrated a high potential in the prediction of post-RT toxicity of BCPs.


© Mina V McGinn

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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Included in

Oncology Commons