Photoacoustic detection of circulating melanoma cells in late stage patients
Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences
Diagnosis, metastasis, optoacoustics
Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer and is responsible for over 7000 deaths in the US annually. The spread of cancer, or metastasis, is responsible for these deaths, as secondary tumors interrupt normal organ function. Circulating tumor cells, or those cells that spread throughout the body from the primary tumor, are thought to be responsible for metastasis. We developed an optical method, photoacoustic flow cytometry, in order to detect and enumerate circulating melanoma cells (CMCs) from blood samples of patients. We tested the blood of Stage IV melanoma patients to show the ability of the photoacoustic flow cytometer to detect these rare cells in blood. We then tested the system on archived blood samples from Stage III melanoma patients with known outcomes to determine if detection of CMCs can predict future metastasis. We detected between 0 and 66 CMCs in Stage IV patients. For the Stage III study, we found that of those samples with CMCs, two remained disease free and five developed metastasis. Of those without CMCs, six remained disease free and one developed metastasis. We believe that photoacoustic detection of CMCs provides valuable information for the prediction of metastasis and we postulate a system for more accurate prognosis.
Viator, J., Hazur, M., Sajewski, A., Tarhini, A., Sanders, M., & Edgar, R. (2020). Photoacoustic detection of circulating melanoma cells in late stage patients. Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences, 13 (6). https://doi.org/10.1142/S1793545820500236