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Diagnostic segregation of human brain tumours using Fourier-transform infrared and/or Raman spectroscopy coupled with discriminant analysis

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Ketan Gajjar
  • Lara D. Heppenstall
  • Weiyi Pang
  • Katherine M. Ashton
  • Julio Trevisan
  • Imran I. Patel
  • Valon Llabjani
  • Helen F. Stringfellow
  • Pierre L. Martin-Hirsch
  • Timothy Dawson
  • Francis L. Martin
  • Valon Llabjani
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Analytical Methods
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)89-102
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The most common initial treatment received by patients with a brain tumour is surgical removal of the growth. Precise histopathological diagnosis of brain tumours is to some extent subjective. Furthermore, currently available diagnostic imaging techniques to delineate the excision border during cytoreductive surgery lack the required spatial precision to aid surgeons. We set out to determine whether infrared (IR) and/or Raman spectroscopy combined with multivariate analysis could be applied to discriminate between normal brain tissue and different tumour types (meningioma, glioma and brain metastasis) based on the unique spectral "fingerprints" of their biochemical composition. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue blocks of normal brain and different brain tumours were de-waxed, mounted on low-E slides and desiccated before being analyzed using attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform IR (ATR-FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy showed a clear segregation between normal and different tumour subtypes. Discrimination of tumour classes was also apparent with Raman spectroscopy. Further analysis of spectral data revealed changes in brain biochemical structure associated with different tumours. Decreased tentatively-assigned lipid-to-protein ratio was associated with increased tumour progression. Alteration in cholesterol esters-to-phenylalanine ratio was evident in grade IV glioma and metastatic tumours. The current study indicates that IR and/or Raman spectroscopy have the potential to provide a novel diagnostic approach in the accurate diagnosis of brain tumours and have potential for application in intra-operative diagnosis.