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Raman spectroscopy can provide a molecular-level fingerprint of the biochemical composition and structure of cells with excellent spatial resolution and could be useful to monitor changes in composition for dysplasia and early, non-invasive cancer diagnosis (carcinoma in situ), both ex-vivo and in vivo. In this study, we demonstrate this potential by collecting Raman spectra of nucleoli, nuclei and cytoplasm from oral epithelial cancer (SCC- 4) and dysplastic (pre-cancerous, DOK) cell lines and from normal oral epithelial primary cell cultures, in vitro, which were then analysed by principal component analysis (PCA) as a multivariate statistical method to discriminate the spectra. Results show significant discrimination between cancer and normal cell lines. Furthermore, the dysplastic and cancer cell lines could be discriminated based on the spectral profiles of the cytoplasmic regions. The principal component loading plot, which elucidates the biochemical features responsible for the discrimination, showed significant contributions of nucleic acid and proteins for nucleolar and nuclear sites and variation in features of lipids for the cytoplasmic area. This technique may provide a rapid screening method and have potential use in the diagnosis of dysplasia and early, non-invasive oral cancer, the treatment of which involves much less extensive and complex surgery and a reduction in associated co-morbidity for the patient.
Carvalho, L., Bonnier, F., O'Callaghan, K., O'Sullivan, J., Flint, S., Byrne,H. & F. Lyng. (2015). Raman Micro-Spectroscopy for Rapid Screening of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Experimental Molecular Pathology, 98(3), 502-509. doi:10.1016/j.yexmp.2015.03.027