Nondestructive identification of individual leukemia cells by laser trapping raman spectroscopy

James W Chan, Douglas S. Taylor, Stephen M. Lane, Theodore Zwerdling, Joseph Tuscano, Thomas R Huser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Currently, a combination of technologies is typically required to assess the malignancy of cancer cells. These methods often lack the specificity and sensitivity necessary for early, accurate diagnosis. Here we demonstrate using clinical samples the application of laser trapping Raman spectroscopy as a novel approach that provides intrinsic biochemical markers for the noninvasive detection of individual cancer cells. The Raman spectra of live, hematopoietic cells provide reliable molecular fingerprints that reflect their biochemical composition and biology. Populations of normal T and B lymphocytes from four healthy individuals and cells from three leukemia patients were analyzed, and multiple intrinsic Raman markers associated with DNA and protein vibrational modes have been identified that exhibit excellent discriminating power for cancer cell identification. A combination of two multivariate statistical methods, principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA), was used to confirm the significance of these markers for identifying cancer cells and classifying the data. The results indicate that, on average, 95% of the normal cells and 90% of the patient cells were accurately classified into their respective cell types. We also provide evidence that these markers are unique to cancer cells and not purely a function of differences in their cellular activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2180-2187
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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