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SERS Advances Noninvasive Prostate Cancer Screening

GUANGDONG, China, Sept. 3, 2014 — Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) could provide a noninvasive way to screen for prostate cancer.

A team from Guangdong Medical College used SERS, as well as a spectral data-processing algorithm called support vector machine (SVM), to identify the cases of prostate cancer with an accuracy of 98.1 percent. The researchers examined blood samples collected from 68 healthy men and 93 men who were clinically confirmed to have prostate cancer.

SERS spectroscopy combined with the SVM diagnostic algorithm offers a noninvasive way to screen for prostate cancer. Courtesy of Shaoxin Li/Guangdong Medical College.

“The results demonstrate that label-free serum SERS analysis combined with the SVM diagnostic algorithm has great potential for noninvasive prostate cancer screening,” said Shaoxin Li, a researcher at Guangdong. “Compared to traditional screening methods, this method has the advantages of being noninvasive, highly sensitive and very simple for prostate cancer screening.”

Traditional methods for early prostate cancer screening involve blood tests that check for elevated levels of a prostate specific antigen (PSA) protein marker. This has proven difficult, the researchers said, as those elevated levels can be caused by many things unrelated to cancer, often prompting unnecessary treatments.

The research was published in Applied Physics Letters (doi: 10.1063/1.4892667). 

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