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Light Reflectance Technique May Improve Ability to Remove Prostate Cancer During Surgery

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Key Points

  • Light reflectance spectroscopy analysis was performed on 17 prostate gland specimens, on which a total of 11 histologically positive and 22 negative surgical margins were measured.
  • The optical probe predicted positive surgical margins with 85% sensitivity, 86% specificity, and 86% accuracy.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have determined that light reflectance spectroscopy can differentiate between malignant and benign prostate tissue with 85% accuracy, a finding that may lead to real-time tissue analysis during prostate cancer surgery. These findings were reported by Morgan et al in The Journal of Urology.

Benefits of this procedure include highly accurate surgical removal of all cancerous tissue and the ability to spare more healthy tissue, minimizing the likelihood of cancer recurrence or additional treatment. Follow-up study is needed before this procedure could be implemented, however.

“We used a novel light reflectance spectroscopy probe to evaluate surgical margins on radical prostatectomy tissue specimens and correlated the findings with pathological examination,” said Jeffrey Cadeddu, MD, Professor of Urology and Radiology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. Light reflectance spectroscopy measures light intensity reflected or backscattered from tissues. 

Study Findings

Patients with intermediate- to high-risk disease requiring radical prostatectomy were enrolled in the study. Immediately after the prostate gland was removed, light reflectance spectroscopy was performed on suspected malignant and benign prostate margins. Each sample was analyzed and correlated with pathologic samples, which were analyzed postsurgery.

Light reflectance spectroscopy analysis was performed on 17 prostate gland specimens, on which a total of 11 histologically positive and 22 negative surgical margins were measured. The optical probe predicted positive surgical margins with 85% sensitivity, 86% specificity, and 86% accuracy.

“This study highlights one of a growing number of technology platforms that aim to improve the outcomes of cancer surgery,” said Dr. Cadeddu, who holds the Ralph C. Smith, MD, Distinguished Chair in Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery. “Further study is required to determine whether such analysis may be used in real time to improve surgical decision-making and decrease the amount of tissue surgeons need to remove.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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