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Identifying Squamous Cell Carcinoma With Gold Nanoparticle Technology

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020

Nanotechnology appears to be an effective way to identify squamous cell carcinoma tumor margins, and diffusion reflectance spectroscopy may prove to have a high sensitivity for detecting residual tumor. Their study findings were confirmed in a comparison with standard pathologic staining. Asaf Olshinka, MD, of Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva, Israel, and colleagues published their work in Materials.

“The technique offers great promise as an intraoperative tool for identifying patients with positive margins who may benefit from the need of reoperation or radiotherapy. Moreover, the follow-up in patients found to have clean surgical margins by this analysis might be limited to tight clinical follow-up only,” concluded the authors.

Researchers used 10 human squamous cell carcinoma specimens and stained them with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) to identify the borders of the tumors. These specimens were then reflected from the H&E-stained section onto a de-paraffinized unstained section. Gold nanorod particles were conjugated to anti–epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies, and these nanorods were added to the slides. Gold nanorod particles were visualized on the samples, and tissue reflectance was measured. The findings using the gold nanorod particles were compared with the H&E findings.

Hyperspectral imaging was able to identify tumor sites in each of the 10 specimens. Researchers were able to see higher intensity staining in the tumor tissue relative to the normal tissue, making cancerous cells easy to distinguish. Normal tissue had a mean reflectance value of 1.2/3, compared with 2.5/3 in the tumor tissue. The gold nanoparticles were detected in 25 of 30 tumor sites, resulting in a sensitivity of 83.3%. Gold nanoparticles were seen in 12 of 30 nontumor sites, producing a specificity of 60%.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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