Light-reflectance spectroscopy has been used during prostate cancer surgery to differentiate between malignant and benign tissue with 85 percent accuracy. The finding could enable real-time tissue analysis during the surgery. According to the National Cancer Institute, the most common cancer in men — second only to skin cancer — is prostate cancer. After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in U.S. males. Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu. Courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Now researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have reported use of a novel light-reflectance spectroscopy probe to evaluate surgical margins on radical prostatectomy tissue specimens and correlate the findings with pathological examination. The benefits of the procedure, once fully qualified, could include highly accurate surgical removal of all cancerous tissue, as well as the ability to spare more healthy tissue, minimizing the likelihood of cancer recurrence or additional treatment, the researchers said. Light reflectance spectroscopy measures light intensity backscattered from tissues. In prostate cancer patients, a radical prostatectomy is often recommended. The procedure entails removal of the prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissue. Due to the amount of time involved with traditional techniques and the lack of proven clinical usefulness, analysis to determine removal of all cancer surrounding the visible tumor's edges is not routinely performed during surgery. As such, undetectable cancer cells can be left behind and are termed "positive surgical margins." Patients with intermediate- to high-risk disease requiring radical prostatectomy were enrolled in the study. Immediately after the prostate gland was removed, light reflectance spectroscopy was performed on suspected malignant and benign prostate margins. Each sample was analyzed and correlated with pathological samples, which were analyzed post-surgery. Light reflectance spectroscopy analysis was performed on 17 prostate gland specimens, of which a total of 11 histologically positive and 22 negative surgical margins were measured. The optical probe predicted positive surgical margins with 85 percent sensitivity, 86 percent specificity and 86 percent accuracy, the researchers reported. "This study highlights one of a growing number of technology platforms that aim to improve the outcomes of cancer surgery," said UT Southwestern professor Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu. "Further study is required to determine whether such analysis may be used in real time to improve surgical decision-making and decrease the amount of tissue surgeons need to remove."