Research Papers:

Real time near-infrared Raman spectroscopy for the diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer

Lim Chwee Ming _, Nagaraja Rao Gangodu, Thomas Loh, Wei Zheng, Jianfeng Wang, Kan Lin and Huang Zhiwei

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:49443-49450. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17703

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Lim Chwee Ming1,2, Nagaraja Rao Gangodu1, Thomas Loh1,2, Wei Zheng3,4, Jianfeng Wang3, Kan Lin3,4 and Huang Zhiwei3

1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, National University Health System, Singapore

2Division of Surgical Oncology, National Cancer Institute of Singapore, Singapore

3Optical Bioimaging Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore

4Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore

Correspondence to:

Lim Chwee Ming, email: [email protected]

Huang Zhiwei, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Raman spectroscopy, nasopharyngeal cancer, real time imaging, PLS-DA model, surveillance

Received: December 16, 2016     Accepted: April 24, 2017     Published: May 08, 2017


Near-infrared (NIR) Raman spectroscopy has been investigated as a tool to differentiate nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) from normal nasopharyngeal tissue in an ex-vivo setting. Recently, we have miniaturized the fiber-optic Raman probe to investigate its utility in real time in-vivo surveillance of NPC patients. A posterior probability model using partial linear square (PLS) mathematical technique was constructed to verify the sensitivity and specificity of Raman spectroscopy in diagnosing NPC from post-irradiated and normal tissue using a diagnostic algorithm from three significant latent variables. NIR-Raman signals of 135 sites were measured from 79 patients with either newly diagnosed NPC (N = 12), post irradiated nasopharynx (N = 37) and normal nasopharynx (N = 30). The mean Raman spectra peaks identified differences at several Raman peaks at 853 cm-1, 940 cm-1, 1078 cm-1, 1335 cm-1, 1554 cm-1, 2885 cm-1 and 2940 cm-1 in the three different nasopharyngeal conditions. The sensitivity and specificity of distinguishing Raman signatures among normal nasopharynx versus NPC and post-irradiated nasopharynx versus NPC were 91% and 95%; and 77% and 96% respectively. Real time near-infrared Raman spectroscopy has a high specificity in distinguishing malignant from normal nasopharyngeal tissue in vivo, and may be investigated as a novel non-invasive surveillance tool in patients with nasopharyngeal cancer.

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