Raman Spectroscopy – A potential new method for the intra-operative assessment of axillary lymph nodes

Jonathan Horsnell, Jennifer Smith, Martina Sattlecker, Alistair Sammon, Jonathan Christie-Brown, Catherine Kendall, Nick Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy has become the standard surgical procedure for the sampling of axillary lymph nodes in breast cancer. Intra-operative node assessment of these nodes would allow definitive axillary surgery to take place immediately with associated benefits for patient management. Our experimental study aims to demonstrate that a Raman spectroscopy probe system could overcome many of the disadvantages of current intra-operative methods.

59 axillary lymph nodes, 43 negative and 16 positive from 58 patients undergoing breast surgery at our district general hospital were mapped using Raman micro-spectroscopy. These maps were then used to model the effect of using a Raman spectroscopic probe by selecting 5 and 10 probe points across the mapped images and evaluating the impact on disease detection.

Results demonstrated sensitivities of up to 81% and specificities of up to 97% when differentiating between positive and negative lymph nodes, dependent on the number of probe points included. The results would have concurred with histopathology assessment in 89% and 91% of cases in the 5 and 10 point models respectively. Using Raman spectroscopy in this way could allow lymph node assessment within a time-frame suitable for intra-operative use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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