Intra-operative spectroscopic assessment of surgical margins during breast conserving surgery

Dustin W. Shipp, Emad Rakha, Alexey A. Koloydenko, R.D. Macmillan, Ian Ellis, Ioan Notingher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In over 20% of breast conserving operations, postoperative pathological assessment of the excised tissue reveals positive margins, requiring additional surgery. Current techniques for intra-operative assessment of tumor margins are insufficient in accuracy or resolution to reliably detect small tumors. There is a distinct need for a fast technique to accurately identify tumors smaller than 1 mm2 in large tissue surfaces within 30 min.
Methods: Multi-modal spectral histopathology (MSH), a multimodal imaging technique combining tissue auto-fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy was used to detect microscopic residual tumor at the surface of the excised breast tissue. New algorithms were developed to optimally utilize auto-fluorescence images to guide Raman measurements and achieve the required detection accuracy over large tissue surfaces (up to 4×6.5 cm2). Algorithms were trained on 91 breast tissue samples from 65 patients.
Results: Independent tests on 121 samples from 107 patients - including 51 fresh, whole excision specimens - detected breast carcinoma on the tissue surface with 95% sensitivity and 82% specificity. One surface of each
uncut excision specimen was measured in 12–24 min. The combination of high spatial-resolution autofluorescence with specific diagnosis by Raman spectroscopy allows reliable detection even for invasive carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ smaller than 1 mm2.
Conclusions: This study provides evidence that this multimodal approach could provide an objective tool for intra-operative assessment of breast conserving surgery margins, reducing the risk for unnecessary second operations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number69
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2018


  • Auto-fluorescence, Breast cancer, Raman spectroscopy, Intra-operative margin evaluation

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