Lymphocyte fluorescence polarization measurements with the cellscan system: application to the SCM cancer test.
ABSTRACT The SCM (Structuredness of Cytoplasmic Matrix) cancer test, a procedure based on detection of differences in lymphocyte activation between individuals with and without cancer, has remained controversial with inconsistent results reported by different authors. As originally described, the test includes two technically demanding steps, the first a lymphocyte separation procedure and the second a series of fluorescence polarization measurements. The Cellscan, a high-precision static cytometer system has been configured to perform the SCM test. The apparatus facilitates the polarization measurements and can analyze cells separated using simpler procedures than were originally described. Using methods and diagnostic criteria adapted for the Cellscan system, the SCM test correctly classified > 90% of patients with cancer and > 90% of individuals without cancer.
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ABSTRACT: The pulses of light scatter and fluorescence measured in flow cytometers exhibit varying degrees of polarization. Flow cytometers are heterogeneously sensitive to this polarization, depending on the light source(s), the optical layout, and the types of mirrors and filters used. Therefore, fluorescence polarization can affect apparent intensity ratios between particles and interfere with schemes for interlaboratory standardization. We investigate the degree to which polarization affects common flow cytometry measurements. Our technique for determining polarization differs from previous methods because complete distributions of intensity versus polarization angle are measured, rather than intensities at just two orthogonal polarization angles. Theoretical models for scatter and fluorescence are presented and verified by making polarization measurements of calibration beads. Measurements of cells stained with a variety of dyes illustrate that fluorescence polarization occurs frequently in flow cytometry. Consequences for quantitative cytometry are discussed, and the use of the "magic angle" to make a flow cytometer insensitive to fluorescence polarization is proposed.Cytometry 07/2000; 40(2):88-101.