New cutting edge technology can be used to grade cancer tumours, eradicating human subjectivity and ensuring patients get the right treatment.
A new imaging technology to grade tumour biopsies has been developed by a team of scientists led by the Department of Physics and the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London.
Publishing their results today in the journal Convergent Science Physical Oncology, they describe how their new method promises to significantly reduce the subjectivity and variability in grading the severity of cancers.
[Digistain] is an extremely reliable indicator of the degree of progression of the disease. Because it is based on a physical measurement, rather than a human judgement, it promises to remove the element of chance in cancer diagnosis.Professor Chris Phillips
Nearly all cancers are still diagnosed by doctors taking a sample of the tumour, a so-called biopsy, then slicing it thinly and staining it with two vegetable dyes used for more than 100 years. They look at this ‘H+E stained’ sample under a microscope and then judge the severity of the disease by eye alone.
Life-changing treatment decisions have to be based on this ‘grading’ process, yet it is well known that different practitioners given the same slice will only agree on its grade about 70% of the time, resulting in an overtreatment problem.
The team’s new ‘Digistain’ technology addresses this problem by using invisible mid-infrared light to photograph the tissue slices in a way that maps out the chemical changes that signal the onset of cancer. In particular, they measure the ‘nuclear-to-cytoplasmic-ratio’ (NCR): a recognized biological marker for a wide range of cancers.
Lead author Professor Chris Phillips, from the Department of Physics at Imperial, said: “Our machine gives a quantitative ‘Digistain index’ (DI) score, corresponding to the NCR, and this study shows that it is an extremely reliable indicator of the degree of progression of the disease. Because it is based on a physical measurement, rather than a human judgement, it promises to remove the element of chance in cancer diagnosis. “
In the experiment reported today, the team carried out a double-blind clinical pilot trial using two adjacent slices taken from 75 breast cancer biopsies. The first slice was graded by clinicians as usual, using the standard H+E protocol. It was also used to identify the so-called ‘region of interest’ (RoI), i.e. the part of the slice containing the tumour.
The team then used the Digistain imager to get a DI value averaged over the corresponding RoI on the other, unstained slice, and ran a statistical analysis on the results.
Professor Phillips said: “Even with this modest number of samples, the correlation we saw between the DI score and the H+E grade would only happen by chance 1 time in 1400 trials. The strength of this correlation makes us extremely optimistic that Digistain will be able to eliminate subjectivity and variability in biopsy grading.”
Proving its worth
The NCR factor that Digistain measures is known to be common to a wide range of cancers, as it occurs when the reproductive cell cycle gets disrupted in the tumour and cell nuclei get distorted with rogue DNA. It is likely that in the long run, Digistain could help with the diagnosis of all different types of cancer.
At a practical level, the researchers say that the Digistain imaging technology can easily and cheaply be incorporated into existing hospital labs, and be used by their staff. Professor Philips added: “It’s easy to prove its worth by checking it with the thousands of existing biopsy specimens that are already held in hospital archives. Together these facts will smooth the path into the clinic, and it could be saving lives in only a couple of years.”
The Latest on: Cancer diagnosis
via Google News
The Latest on: Cancer diagnosis
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Lumps, pain, and other signs, symptoms to look out foron October 14, 2021 at 4:33 am
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer and about 2.3 million women were diagnosed with the condition in the year 2020.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Watch out, lumps are not the only symptom of breast cancer; know them allon October 14, 2021 at 4:12 am
Don’t fall for a false sense of security, don't miss these uncommon signs as 'nothing serious'. New Delhi: When cells start to multiply abnormally in the breast, it results in the development of a ...
- ‘It’s not just about pink ribbons’: What those who work year-round want you to know about breast canceron October 14, 2021 at 4:00 am
Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, those who are survivors and those who support those fighting the disease know that battling cancer is a daily endeavor.
- Hodgkin lymphoma: the cancer diagnosis given to Wales and Bournemouth star David Brookson October 14, 2021 at 3:33 am
Football fans across the globe were left stunned at news Wales star David Brooks has been diagnosed with cancer. After leaving international duty last week, the 24-year-old underwent medical ...
- What is Hodgkin lymphoma? Symptoms and survival rate as David Brooks announces stage 2 cancer diagnosison October 14, 2021 at 3:31 am
Wales and Bournemouth footballer David Brooks has revealed he. The 24-year-old midfielder said he has stage two Hodgkin lymphoma, and will start treatment this week. “This is a very difficult message ...
- ‘Be an angel to someone else.’ Breast cancer survivors help others with their diagnosison October 14, 2021 at 3:00 am
These three mothers in South Florida have one thing in common: They’re breast cancer survivors. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, excluding skin cancers.
- EXCLUSIVE: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: How low awareness impacts the diagnosis of Breast Canceron October 14, 2021 at 2:50 am
This won’t happen to me. How many of us have been guilty of this thought process, this self-denial? I know I have. We most often defer our annual check-up, especially the dreaded mammogram and make up ...
- 6 Breast Cancer Symptoms That Have Nothing to Do With Feeling a Lumpon October 13, 2021 at 1:20 pm
Awareness of these less typical breast cancer symptoms could result in an earlier diagnosis and lifesaving treatment, according to doctors.
- Your Healthy Family: Young UCHealth patient diagnosed with rare form of breast canceron October 13, 2021 at 12:32 pm
The mother of a then-2-year-old son, Jesse, had stage one triple-positive breast cancer. Anna and her husband, Jordan, faced a daunting new reality, including chemo treatments, radiation and surgeries ...
via Bing News