Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Improving the Accuracy of Cancer Diagnoses

Published: Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New spectroscopy technique could help doctors better identify breast tumors.

Tiny calcium deposits can be a telltale sign of breast cancer. However, in the majority of cases these microcalcifications signal a benign condition.  A new diagnostic procedure developed at MIT and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) could help doctors more accurately distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous cases.

When microcalcifications are spotted through mammography, doctors perform a follow-up biopsy to remove the suspicious tissue and test it for cancer. In 15 to 25 percent of cases, however, they are unable to retrieve the tissue that contains the calcium deposits, leading to an inconclusive diagnosis. The patient then has to undergo a much more invasive surgical procedure.

The new method, which uses a special type of spectroscopy to locate microcalcifications during the biopsy, could dramatically reduce the rate of inconclusive diagnosis, according to the researchers. In a study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Dec. 24, they found that the spectroscopy technique had a success rate of 97 percent.

In addition, the spectroscopic approach could easily be integrated into the current biopsy procedure, says Ishan Barman, an MIT postdoc and one of the paper’s lead authors. MIT postdocs Jaqueline Soares and Narahara Chari Dingari are also lead authors; senior authors are Maryann Fitzmaurice, senior research associate and adjunct associate professor of pathology and oncology at CWRU, and Ramachandra Rao Dasari, associate director of MIT’s Laser Biomedical Research Center (LBRC).

‘An arduous procedure’

Microcalcifications form when calcium from the bloodstream is deposited onto degraded proteins and lipids left behind by injured and dying cells. Though often seen in breast tumors, microcalcifications are rarely found in other types of cancer, Fitzmaurice says. Calcification also plays a major role in the hardening of the arteries seen in atherosclerosis.

Among women with microcalcifications spotted during a mammogram, only about 10 percent will turn out to have cancer, so the follow-up biopsy is critical. During that procedure, the radiologist first takes X-rays from three different angles to locate the microcalcifications, then inserts a needle into the tissue and removes five to 10 samples.

A pathologist then examines the tissues to see if they contain microcalcifications. If not, the radiologist tries again, after taking new X-rays. However, this second attempt is rarely successful, Fitzmaurice says.

“If they don't get them on the first pass, they usually don't get them at all,” she says. “It can become a very long and arduous procedure for the patient, with a lot of extra X-ray exposure, and in the end they still don't get what they’re after, in one out of five patients.”

For the past several years, the MIT and CWRU team has been working to develop a spectroscopic technique that can analyze the tissue that the radiologist is about to biopsy — revealing, in a matter of seconds, whether that tissue actually contains microcalcifications.

They began with Raman spectroscopy, which uses light to measure energy shifts in molecular vibrations, revealing precise molecular structures. Because it offers such detailed information about the chemical composition of a tissue, Raman spectroscopy is very accurate in identifying microcalcifications. However, the equipment required is expensive, and the analysis takes a long time.

In the new study, the researchers showed that another technique, known as diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, gives results just as accurate as Raman spectroscopy. What makes diffuse reflectance spectroscopy more appealing is that it provides information within seconds, allowing the radiologist to move the needle if it’s in the wrong spot, before taking any samples.

“With our new method, we could obtain similar results with less time and less expense,” Dingari says.

Distinctive patterns

Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy works by sending light toward the tissue, then capturing and analyzing the light after its interaction with the sample. In this study, the researchers examined 203 tissue samples from 23 patients, within minutes of those samples’ removal.

Each of the three types of tissue (healthy, lesions without microcalcifications, and lesions with microcalcifications) has subtle differences in its spectrographic signature, which can be used to distinguish among them. By analyzing these patterns, the researchers created a computer algorithm that can identify the tissues with a success rate of 97 percent.

The changes in tissues’ light absorption are likely caused by altered levels of specific proteins (elastin, desmosine and isodesmosine) that are often cross-linked with calcium deposits in diseased tissue, Soares says.

For clinical use, a radiologist would perform spectroscopy just after inserting the needle to provide enhanced real-time guidance to the current biopsy procedure. The researchers are now planning for a study in which they will test their needle and spectroscopy setup in patients as the biopsies are being done.

James Tunnell, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, says the findings represent a good first step toward creating a system that could have a big impact on breast cancer diagnosis. “This technology can be integrated into the system that is already used to take biopsies. It’s a very simple technology that can get the same amount of accuracy as more complicated systems” such as Raman spectroscopy, says Tunnell, who was not involved in the study.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Controlling RNA in Living Cells
Modular, programmable proteins can be used to track or manipulate gene expression.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Long-Term Drug Release
New tablet attaches to the lining of the GI tract, resists being pulled away.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Pharmacy on Demand
New, portable system can be configured to produce different drugs.
Monday, April 04, 2016
A Programming Language for Living Cells
New language lets researchers design novel biological circuits.
Monday, April 04, 2016
Why Some Tumors Withstand Treatment
Mechanism uncovered that allows cancer cells to evade targeted therapies.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Cancer Cells Remodel Environments Before Spreading
Researchers at MIT have found that the cancer cells remodel their environment to make it easier to reach nearby blood vessels.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Paving the Way for Metastasis
Cancer cells remodel their environment to make it easier to reach nearby blood vessels.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
A New Way to Discover DNA Modifications
Researchers systematically find molecules that help regulate and protect DNA.
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
MIT Study: Carbon Tax Needed to Cut Fossil Fuel Consumption
Researchers at MIT have suggested that the technology-driven cost reductions in fossil fuels will lead the world to continue using all the oil, gas, and coal, unless governments pass new taxes on carbon emissions.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Mapping Regulatory Elements
Systematically searching DNA for regulatory elements indicates limits of previous thinking
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Curing Disease by Repairing Faulty Genes
New delivery method boosts efficiency of CRISPR genome-editing system.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Living a “Mixotrophic” Lifestyle
Some tiny plankton may have big effect on ocean’s carbon storage.
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Faster Drug Discovery?
Startup develops more cost-effective test for assessing how cells respond to chemicals.
Friday, January 29, 2016
No More Insulin Injections?
Encapsulated pancreatic cells offer possible new diabetes treatment.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Engineering Foe into Friend
Bose Grant awardee Jacquin Niles aims to repurpose the malaria parasite for drug delivery.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Scientific News
Improving Natural Killer Cancer Therapy
Vanderbilt University researchers discover transcription factor critical for NK cell expansion. Findings could lead to increased therapeutic efficacy.
Molecular Mechanism For Generating Specific Antibody Responses Discovered
Study could spur more ways to treat autoimmune disease, develop accurate vaccines.
Monovar Drills Down Into Cancer Genome
Rice, MD Anderson develop program to ID mutations in single cancer cells.
It’s Now Easier To Go With The Flow
Rice University tool simplifies comparison of flow cytometry data for laboratories.
Autism and Cancer Share a Remarkable Number of Risk Genes
Researchers with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, MIND Institute identify more than 40 common genes.
Number Of Known Genetic Risk Factors For Endometrial Cancer Doubled
An international collaboration of researchers has identified five new gene regions that increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, one of the most common cancers to affect women, taking the number of known gene regions associated with the disease to nine.
Genetic Variant May Help Explain Why Labradors Are Prone To Obesity
A genetic variation associated with obesity and appetite in Labrador retrievers – the UK and US’s favourite dog breed – has been identified by scientists at the University of Cambridge. The finding may explain why Labrador retrievers are more likely to become obese than dogs of other breeds.
FNIH Launches Project to Evaluate Biomarkers in Cancer Patients
Company has announced that it has launched a new project to evaluate the effectiveness of liquid biopsies as biomarkers in colorectal cancer patients.
Flowering Regulation Mechanism Discovered
Monash researchers have discovered a new mechanism that enables plants to regulate their flowering in response to raised temperatures.
Turning Skin Cells into Heart, Brain Cells
In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!