Virtual staining of colon cancer tissue by label-free Raman micro-spectroscopy†
The great capability of the label-free classification of tissue via vibrational spectroscopy, like Raman or infrared imaging, is shown in numerous publications (review: Diem et al., J. Biophotonics, 2013, 6, 855–886). Herein, we present a new approach, virtual staining, that improves the Raman spectral histopathology (SHP) images of colorectal cancer tissue by combining the integrated Raman intensity image in the C–H stretching region (2800–3050 cm−1) with the pseudo-colour Raman image. This allows the display of fine structures such as the filamentous composition of muscle tissue. The morphology of the virtually stained images is in agreement with the gold standard in medical diagnosis, the haematoxylin–eosin staining. The virtual staining image also represents the whole biochemical fingerprint, and several tissue components including carcinoma were identified automatically with high sensitivity and specificity. For fast tissue classifications, a similar approach was applied on coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) spectral data that is faster and therefore potentially more suitable for clinical applications.