The array SPR imaging (SPRi) technique is well suited to the determination of biomarkers in body fluids, called liquid biopsy. No signal enhancement or analyte preconcentration is required. With the aim of achieving signal enhancement and lowering the cost of a single determination, the replacement of gold-covered chips by silver-gold chips was investigated. The aim of this work was to investigate the analytical characteristics of a biosensor formed on a Ag/Au chip and to compare them with those of a biosensor formed on a gold chip. A biosensor for the determination of cathepsin S (Cath S) was chosen as an example. The biosensor consisted of the linker cysteamine and an immobilized rat monoclonal antibody specific for cathepsin S. Both biosensors exhibited a Langmuirian response to Cath S concentration, with linear response ranging from LOQ to 1.5 ng mL. The LOQ is 0.1 ng mL for the biosensor formed on the Ag/Au chip, and 0.22 ng mL for that formed on the gold chip. Recoveries and precision for medium and high Cath S concentrations were acceptable for both biosensors, i.e., precision better than 10% and recoveries within the range 102-105%. However, the results for the lowest Cath S concentration were better for the biosensor formed on the Ag/Au chip (9.4 and 106% for precision and recovery, respectively). Generally, no significant differences in analytical characteristics were observed between the Ag/Au and Au chips. The two biosensors were also compared in the determination of Cath S in real samples. Nine plasma samples from healthy donors and nine from patients with ovarian cancer were analyzed for Cath S concentration with the biosensors formed on Ag/Au and Au chips. The results obtained with the two biosensors were very similar and show no significant differences on the Bland-Altman plot. The Cath S concentration in the blood plasma of ovarian cancer patients was elevated by one order of magnitude as compared with the control (12.6 ± 3.6 vs. 1.6 ± 1.2 ng mL).
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