Rapid Nanophotonics Assay for Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis.
Efficient and timely diagnosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a critical challenge, particularly in low and middle income countries. These regions, which are expected to witness a drastic increase in HNSCC rates, are ill-prepared to handle the diagnostic burden due to limited resources, especially the low ratio of pathologists per population, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment. Here, we demonstrate the potential of an alternative diagnostic method as a low-cost, resource-efficient alternative to histopathological analysis. Our novel technology employs unique surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) "nanorattles" targeting cytokeratin nucleic acid biomarkers specific for HNSCC. In this first study using SERS diagnostics for head and neck cancers, we tested the diagnostic accuracy of our assay using patient tissue samples. In a blinded trial, our technique demonstrated a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 89%, supporting its use as a useful alternative to histopathological diagnosis. The implications of our method are vast and significant in the setting of global health. Our method can provide a rapid diagnosis, allowing for earlier treatment before the onset of distant metastases. In comparison to histopathology, which can take several months in remote limited-resources regions, our method provides a diagnosis within a few hours.
Vohra, P; Strobbia, P; Ngo, HT; Lee, WT; Vo-Dinh, T
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