FTIR blood test for liver cancer

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  • Published: Mar 18, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Chemometrics & Informatics / Proteomics / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / X-ray Spectrometry / NMR Knowledge Base / Base Peak / Infrared Spectroscopy / Atomic / Raman / MRI Spectroscopy

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FTIR microspectroscopy of human serum can differentiate between healthy livers, cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, based on protein structures and lipid levels. This is the conclusion of Australian and Thai researchers who undertook the study because liver cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in Thailand.

Writing in Journal of Biophotonics, they explained how testing a small drop of serum could distinguish between the three clinical conditions with the aid of multivariate data analysis to highlight the spectral differences. The inclusion of liver cirrhosis is important because it is regarded as the strongest risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma, producing fibrous scar tissue and inhibiting liver function.

The spectra from healthy patients contained a strong amide I band at 1648 cm–1, which is consistent with the α-helix structure of proteins. However, this band was shifted to 1639 cm–1 in the cirrhotic and cancerous sera, due to a move towards a β-sheet structure. The shift was more pronounced for the cancer samples.

Spectral modifications were also detected for the lipid spectra. Specifically, the lipid ester carbonyl band at 1725 cm–1 was increased for the cirrhosis samples. In contrast, the spectral features at 1750-1700 cm–1 were reduced in the liver sera.

Although this is a preliminary study, "these studies support the use of FTIR microspectroscopy for diagnosis and identification of human liver disease and, therefore, may be clinically useful as an indicator for liver cancer diagnosis," said senior reporter Philip Heraud from Monash University. The team are now developing the data analysis models using greater numbers of samples.


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