Vanderbilt University researchers have developed a technology that uses spatially offset Raman spectroscopy to obtain depth-resolved information from the margins of tumors. This helps to determine positive or negative tumor margins in applications such as breast lumpectomy, and the technology is currently being investigated for breast cancer margin detection.
Breast conserving surgery currently relies on standard histopathology to examine surgical margins, forcing a large percentage of women to later undergo a second tumor removal surgery when it is discovered that the surgeon excised an insufficient margin around the tumor
Current intra-operative techniques available for examining margins around tumors have significant shortcomings in terms of accuracy, time, and/or cost, thus there is a clear need for an automated, real-time method to asses surgical margins in breast conserving surgery
This technology uses spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) to obtain depth-sensitive information from the margins of tumors to determine whether a sufficient safety zone exists around the tumor to minimize the risk of local recurrence. The device displays results as an image. The technology has been used to successfully detect breast tumor signatures below 1-2 mm of normal in vitro breast tissue.