Development of a high throughput (HT) Raman spectroscopy method for rapid screening of liquid blood plasma from prostate cancer patients
Extensive research has been undertaken on the examination of tissue biopsies using vibrational spectroscopic techniques. However, fewer studies have focused on less invasive and commonly acquired blood samples. Recent studies have shown the ability of Raman and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to discriminate between non-cancer controls and cancer cases using blood serum or plasma. Even though many studies have proposed Raman spectroscopy as a potential diagnostic tool in various cancers, the Raman spectroscopic technique has not been introduced as a routine clinical technology. This is due to multiple drawbacks with the application of the technique, including sample preparation, the requirement for expensive substrates and long acquisition times. The current study aims to overcome these limitations and focuses on the translation of Raman spectroscopy into a high throughput clinical diagnostic tool for prostate cancer. In this study, the effect of different instrumental and sample preparation parameters were investigated, with the aim of identifying a combination that would reduce the overall acquisition time for spectra from peripheral blood plasma, reduce the complexity of sample preparation and retain the classification accuracy from Raman spectroscopic diagnostics. A high throughput (HT) system was developed and Raman spectroscopic measurements were performed on plasma samples from 10 prostate cancer patients and 10 healthy volunteers. The spectra were pre-processed and classified by principal component analysis – linear discriminant analysis (PCA-LDA) in the R environment. Statistically significant differences were observed between Raman spectra of prostate cancer patients and non-cancer controls. The (HT) classification resulted in a sensitivity and specificity of 96.5% and 95% respectively. Overall, this study has overcome some of the limitations associated with clinical translation of Raman spectroscopy. The HT-Raman spectroscopy method developed in this study can be used for rapid and accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer using liquid plasma samples.