Raman spectroscopy distinguishes cancer cell lines

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  • Published: May 14, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: X-ray Spectrometry / Infrared Spectroscopy / MRI Spectroscopy / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Base Peak / Proteomics / Raman / NMR Knowledge Base / Atomic / Chemometrics & Informatics

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Raman spectroscopy has been used to distinguish between two breast cancer cell lines and a normal breast cell line, a development which could be used in vivo and in vitro.

This type of spectroscopy has been used successfully in recent times to differentiate breast cancer tissue from normal breast tissue, based on the signals emanating from the lipids and proteins present. The same technique has also been used to identify different breast cancer grades, discriminating between low and high nuclear grades on the basis of their acylglyceride and protein contents.

Now, scientists at the University of Sheffield, UK, have been able to differentiate between different breast cancer cell lines using Raman spectroscopy. Writing in Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, Ihtesham Ur Rehman and colleagues explained how the levels of lipids, nucleic acids and proteins that were observed in the spectra could set apart MDA-MB-436 breast cancer cells from MCF-7 breast cancer cells and the normal MCF-10A cells.

Although the differences in the spectra could be made out by visual inspection, a principal components analysis provided a more systematic inspection. The MCF-7 line is more abundant in lipids and nucleic acids/DNA than the other two, whereas MDA-MB-436 was distinguished by higher protein and amino acid signals.

The method needs to be confirmed on a much larger set of samples and extended to other cell lines but it could be a fast and easy way to examine tissue from patients either in vitro or in vivo.

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