Gold nanoparticle based platforms for circulating cancer marker detection


Detection of cancer-related circulating biomarkers in body fluids has become a cutting-edge technology that has the potential to noninvasively screen cancer, diagnose cancer at early stage, monitor tumor progression, and evaluate therapy responses. Traditional molecular and cellular detection methods are either insensitive for early cancer intervention or technically costly and complicated making them impractical for typical clinical settings. Due to their exceptional structural and functional properties that are not available from bulk materials or discrete molecules, nanotechnology is opening new horizons for low cost, rapid, highly sensitive, and highly specific detection of circulating cancer markers. Gold nanoparticles have emerged as a unique nanoplatform for circulating biomarker detection owning to their advantages of easy synthesis, facile surface chemistry, excellent biocompatibility, and remarkable structure and environment sensitive optical properties. In this review, we introduce current gold nanoparticle-based technology platforms for the detection of four major classes of circulating cancer markers-circulating tumor cells, vesicles, nucleic acids, and proteins. The techniques will be summarized in terms of signal detection strategies. Distinctive examples are provided to highlight the state-of-the-art technologies that significantly advance basic and clinical cancer research.

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