Large Oncosomes as Marker of Prostate Cancer and Cancer Metastasis

Tech Id: div000621



Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in western countries. Most prostate cancer–related deaths are due to advanced disease, where cells break away from the tumor in prostate and travel through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream to other areas of the body, a stage known as cancer metastasis. Understanding the biological aspects of progression to advanced, untreatable prostate cancer and identifying reliable markers to assess disease course before and after therapy remain major clinical challenges.


Technology Description 

Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) have discovered the use of large oncosomes as markers to predict cancer. These bioactive membrane-bound microvesicles (1-10 µm in diameter) are very large as compared with any other type of bioactive vesicle (<1 µm) and are released ONLY by cancer cells. These tumor-specific large oncosomes are visible by conventional microscopy. Studies have determined that the number of large oncosomes is directly correlated with aggressiveness of cancer. The inventors studied independent cohorts of human prostate cancer tissues to demonstrate that the large oncosome features discriminate between tumor and benign tissue, including benign prostatic hyperplasia, and also between organ-confined and metastatic tumors.



These scientists have developed a novel filtration based method for isolating large oncosomes from patient plasma and determining cancer metastasis based on the enumeration of the vesicles. Large oncosomes can be isolated using a variety of other methods. The inventors have characterized the vesicles by mass spectrometry and identified additional specific proteins that are expressed on the external surface of the large oncosome membrane, and that can serve as biomarkers of disease progression.

This rapid and sensitive method has unique advantages over existing methods, such as easy visualization using clinically-applicable methods including fluorescent microscopy and cost-effectiveness compared with ultracentrifugation based methods. This could be used as a rapid and cost-effective way for early prediction and detection of metastatic cancer. Current study has been done in human plasma samples on prostate cancer. Studies in other cancer types are ongoing.



Large oncosomes and their detection can be used for detection of prostate cancer and cancer metastasis. This approach can be applied to other cancers as well.


Intellectual Property 



• Di Vizio et al.  Oncosome formation in prostate cancer: association with a region of frequent chromosomal deletion in metastatic disease. Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 1;69(13):5601-9. [LINK]


• Di  Vizio et al. Large oncosomes in human prostate cancer tissues and in the circulation of mice with metastatic disease. Am J Pathol. 2012 Nov; 181(5): 1573–1584. [LINK]


Morello et al. Large oncosomes mediate intercellular transfer of functional microRNA. Cell Cycle. 2013 Nov 15;12(22):3526-36. [LINK]


Minciacchi et al. Extracellular vesicles in cancer: exosomes, microvesicles and the emerging role of large oncosomes. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2015 Apr;40:41-51. [LINK]


Minciacchi et al. Large oncosomes contain distinct protein cargo and represent a separate functional class of tumor-derived extracellular vesicles. Oncotarget. 2015 May 10;6(13):11327-41. [LINK]

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Wenyue Du
Senior Associate - IP Management & Licensing
Dolores Divizio
Michael Freeman
Matteo Morello