Emerging integrated SERS-microfluidic devices for analysis of cancer-derived small extracellular vesicles

Long Ngo, Le Que Anh Pham, Anastasiia Tukova, Amin Hassanzadeh-Barforoushi, Wei Zhang, Yuling Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer-derived small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) are specific subgroups of lipid bilayer vesicles secreted from cancer cells to the extracellular environment. They carry distinct biomolecules (e.g., proteins, lipids and nucleic acids) from their parent cancer cells. Therefore, the analysis of cancer-derived sEVs can provide valuable information for cancer diagnosis. However, the use of cancer-derived sEVs in clinics is still limited due to their small size, low amounts in circulating fluids, and heterogeneous molecular features, making their isolation and analysis challenging. Recently, microfluidic technology has gained great attention for its ability to isolate sEVs in minimal volume. In addition, microfluidics allows the isolation and detection of sEVs to be integrated into a single device, offering new opportunities for clinical application. Among various detection techniques, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has emerged as a promising candidate for integrating with microfluidic devices due to its ultra-sensitivity, stability, rapid readout, and multiplexing capability. In this tutorial review, we start with the design of microfluidics devices for isolation of sEVs and introduce the key factors to be considered for the design, and then discuss the integration of SERS and microfluidic devices by providing descriptive examples of the currently developed platforms. Lastly, we discuss the current limitations and provide our insights for utilising integrated SERS-microfluidics to isolate and analyse cancer-derived sEVs in clinical settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2899-2921
Number of pages23
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number13
Early online date15 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2023


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