Feasibility of desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry for diagnosis of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma

Cedric D'Hue, Michael Moore, Don John Summerlin, Alan Jarmusch, Clint Alfaro, Avinash Mantravadi, Arnaud Bewley, D Gregory Farwell, R. Graham Cooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Rationale: Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) has demonstrated utility in differentiating tumor from adjacent normal tissue in both urologic and neurosurgical specimens. We sought to evaluate if this technique had similar accuracy in differentiating oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) from adjacent normal epithelium due to current issues with late diagnosis of SCC in advanced stages. Methods: Fresh frozen samples of SCC and adjacent normal tissue were obtained by surgical resection. Resections were analyzed using DESI-MS sometimes by a blinded technologist. Normative spectra were obtained for separate regions containing SCC or adjacent normal epithelium. Principal Component Analysis and Linear Discriminant Analysis (PCA-LDA) of spectra were used to predict SCC versus normal tongue epithelium. Predictions were compared with pathology to assess accuracy in differentiating oral SCC from adjacent normal tissue. Results: Initial PCA score and loading plots showed clear separation of SCC and normal epithelial tissue using DESI-MS. PCA-LDA resulted in accuracy rates of 95% for SCC versus normal and 93% for SCC, adjacent normal and normal. Additional samples were blindly analyzed with PCA-LDA pixel-by-pixel predicted classifications as SCC or normal tongue epithelial tissue and compared against histopathology. The m/z 700–900 prediction model showed a 91% accuracy rate. Conclusions: DESI-MS accurately differentiated oral SCC from adjacent normal epithelium. Classification of all typical tissue types and pixel predictions with additional classifications should increase confidence in the validation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 30 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry


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