Acoustofluidic salivary exosome isolation: a liquid biopsy compatible approach for human papillomavirus–associated oropharyngeal cancer detection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Zeyu Wang
  • Feng Li
  • Joseph Rufo
  • Chuyi Chen
  • Shujie Yang
  • Liang Li
  • Jinxin Zhang
  • Jordan Cheng
  • Yong Kim
  • Mengxi Wu
  • Elliot Abemayor
  • Michael Tu
  • David Chia
  • David T.W. Wong
  • Tony Jun Huang

External organisations

  • Duke University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Hunan University of Chinese Medicine
  • David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


Previous efforts to evaluate the detection of human papilloma viral (HPV) DNA in whole saliva as a diagnostic measure for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC) have not shown sufficient clinical performance. We hypothesize that salivary exosomes are packaged with HPV-associated biomarkers, and efficient enrichment of salivary exosomes through isolation can enhance diagnostic and prognostic performance for HPV-OPC. In this study, an acoustofluidic (the fusion of acoustics and microfluidics) platform was developed to perform size-based isolation of salivary exosomes. These data showed that this platform is capable of consistently isolating exosomes from saliva samples, regardless of viscosity variation and collection method. Compared with the current gold standard, differential centrifugation, droplet digital RT-PCR analysis showed that the average yield of salivary exosomal small RNA from the acoustofluidic platform is 15 times higher. With this high-yield exosome isolation platform, we show that HPV16 DNA could be detected in isolated exosomes from the saliva of HPV-associated OPC patients at 80% concordance with tissues/biopsies positive for HPV16. Overall, these data demonstrated that the acoustofluidic platform can achieve high-purity and high-yield salivary exosome isolation for downstream salivary exosome–based liquid biopsy applications. Additionally, HPV16 DNA sequences in HPV-OPC patients are packaged in salivary exosomes and their isolation will enhance the detection of HPV16 DNA.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020