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Partial wave spectroscopic microscopy of cheek cells could work for cancer prescreening

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 (Last Updated: 10/14/2010)

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The use of partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy to evaluate cells from the cheek may provide a minimally intrusive screening tool for lung cancer, according to research published online Oct. 5 in Cancer Research.

Hemant K. Roy, M.D., of the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues discuss their use of PWS, which assesses cellular organization on the nanoscale levels, to detect signs of lung cancer in a distant site. They analyzed buccal epithelial brushings that appeared normal by conventional microscopy from 63 smokers with lung cancer, as well as 50 smokers with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 22 nonsmokers as controls.

The researchers found that the PWS parameter known as "disorder strength of cell nanoarchitecture" was more than 50 percent higher in patients with lung cancer. Area under the receiver operator characteristic curve was 0.81, 0.85, and 0.88 for distinguishing cancer patients from smokers with COPD, smokers without COPD, and nonsmoking controls, respectively.

"If confirmed in large-scale validation trials, we would envision that this would be used as a 'prescreen,' identifying patients at highest risk who are likely to benefit from more invasive or expensive testing (bronchoscopy or low-dose computerized tomography). This may herald a paradigm-shifting approach of employing PWS detection of extended field carcinogenesis for accurate risk-stratification and thereby bringing the era of 'personalized medicine' to cancer screening," the authors conclude.

Two authors are co-founders and shareholders of American BioOptics LLC.

Abstract
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Specialties Family Practice
Internal Medicine
OBGYN & Women's Health
Hematology & Oncology

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