Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin 2006.


Just fewer than 20,000 people are annually diagnosed with some form of cancer in Ireland and one in three people are likely to contract some form of cancer by age 74. With the number of cases increasing at an annual rate of 2%, the early detection and treatment of cancer is becoming increasingly important. Both IR and Raman spectroscopy offer the potential for real time, quantitative detection of cancer and even precancer. This study investigates the potential of Raman and Fourier transform infrared, both benchtop and synchrotron spectroscopies for the detection of cervical cancer. The tissue was classified and its various spectral contributions were associated with the chemical bonds in the tissue’s constituent components. Bands have been attributed to biological compounds such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Formalin fixed paraffin preserved (FFPP) tissue sections were found to be sufficiently similar to unprocessed tissue to be used in the study. The study identified problems with residual wax in these FFPP sections and recommended the use of hexane as a dewaxing solvent. Spectra recorded from normal cervical tissue were compared to spectra from cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and invasive carcinoma. Significant spectral differences were observed between normal and cancerous, as well as neoplastic tissue. Principal component analysis and linear discriminant analysis yielded sensitivities of 90%, 99% and 98.5% and specificities 100%, 99% and 99% for normal epithelial tissue, CIN, and invasive carcinoma respectively. These high values of sensitivity and specificity achieved confirms vibrational spectroscopy as a useful tool in the detection of cancer, as well as a useful tool to understand the biochemical changes in tissue with the onset of disease.