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Toward a SERS Diagnostic Tool for Discrimination between Cancerous and Normal Bladder Tissues via Analysis of the Extracellular Fluid


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Vibrational spectroscopy provides the possibility for sensitive and precise detection of chemical changes in biomolecules due to development of cancers. In this work, label-free near-infrared surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) was applied for the differentiation between cancerous and normal human bladder tissues via analysis of the extracellular fluid of the tissue. Specific cancer-related SERS marker bands were identified by using a 1064 nm excitation wavelength. The prominent spectral marker band was found to be located near 1052 cm-1 and was assigned to the C-C, C-O, and C-N stretching vibrations of lactic acid and/or cysteine molecules. The correct identification of 80% of samples is achieved with even limited data set and could be further improved. The further development of such a detection method could be implemented in clinical practice for the aid of surgeons in determining of boundaries of malignant tumors during the surgery.
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Toward a SERS Diagnostic Tool for Discrimination between
Cancerous and Normal Bladder Tissues via Analysis of the
Extracellular Fluid
Edvinas Zacharovas, Martynas Velička,*Gediminas Platkevičius, Albertas C
ekauskas, Aru̅nas Z
Gediminas Niaura,*and Valdas S
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ABSTRACT: Vibrational spectroscopy provides the possibility for
sensitive and precise detection of chemical changes in
biomolecules due to development of cancers. In this work, label-
free near-infrared surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)
was applied for the dierentiation between cancerous and normal
human bladder tissues via analysis of the extracellular uid of the
tissue. Specic cancer-related SERS marker bands were identied
by using a 1064 nm excitation wavelength. The prominent spectral
marker band was found to be located near 1052 cm1and was
assigned to the CC, CO, and CN stretching vibrations of
lactic acid and/or cysteine molecules. The correct identication of
80% of samples is achieved with even limited data set and could be
further improved. The further development of such a detection
method could be implemented in clinical practice for the aid of surgeons in determining of boundaries of malignant tumors during
the surgery.
Bladder cancer (BC) is the 11th most commonly diagnosed
cancer for both genders. Higher rates of age-standardized
incidence are observed in males comparing to females (9.0 and
2.2 per 100 000 person/years, respectively).
The 5-year
recurrence and progression rates depend on clinical and
pathological factors and vary from 31% to 78% and from 0.8%
to 45%, respectively.
Because of the high recurrence rate and
complexity of the invasive diagnostic procedures, bladder
cancer has the largest economic burden to treat per patient
over their lifetimes.
BC is commonly diagnosed by white light
cystoscopy (WLC), followed by a bladder tissue biopsy.
Although, WLC is widely used, it has limitations on detecting
small malignant tumors, particularly sessile carcinoma in situ
(CIS). Photodynamic diagnosis (PDD), with bluelight after
addition of 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) or hexaminolaevu-
linic acid (HAL), has higher rates of sensitivity than WLC
(92% vs 71%). However, its specicity is signicantly lower
than that of WLC (63% vs 81%), as false-positive results may
be easily produced by bladder inammation (cystitis), due to
similar macroscopical appearances in some cases.
Samples of
bladder tissue biopsy are examined by pathologists, and
diagnosis is given according to BC histological criteria. The
most common histological type of BC is urothelial carcinoma
(UC), with approximately 90% of all cases. The remaining
10% of cases consist of squamous cell carcinoma,
adenocarcinoma, and small cell carcinoma.
Since 2004,
when new pathological grading system was introduced, low-
grade (LG) and high-grade (HG) categories were imple-
mented to dene tumor dierentiation. High-grade tumors are
less dierentiated and encompass all G3 and part of the G2
entities from the previous classication.
Although, to date,
WLC is a good standard of BC diagnosis, it has a factor of
subjectivity during both endoscopy and the pathological
examination of the biopsy sample. It also requires repeated
invasive procedures and has a high expense rate per patient.
Therefore, there is need for a new accurate, noninvasive, and
low-cost diagnostic method. Recently, new magnetic resonance
imaging possibilities have been described with a completely
new standardized reporting system (VI-RADS).
While, it
may have improved the patients care through imaging of the
bladder with a better resolution of the tissue planes, there is
still need to perform an invasive procedure to have a sample
for pathological examination.
Received: January 4, 2022
Accepted: March 3, 2022
Published: March 17, 2022
© 2022 The Authors. Published by
American Chemical Society 10539
ACS Omega 2022, 7, 1053910549
Sensitive and precise detection of chemical changes in
biomolecules due to development of cancers is possible using
vibrational spectroscopy methods, namely infrared (IR)
Raman spectroscopy,
and surface-enhanced
Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy.
It has been
previously shown that both of these methods can be used to
discriminate between the cancerous and normal tissues or cells
of various cancers, like brain,
or others.
Similarly, we have showed that SERS and attenuated total
reectance Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) methods
can be used to detect kidney cancer through the analysis of the
extracellular uid.
Nowadays, a lot of research has been
focused to nondirect cancer detection through liquid biopsies
since this method can be potentially noninvasive.
number of vibrational spectroscopy studies have been
performed regarding bladder cancer as well.
It has been
shown that FTIR spectroscopy can be used not only to
distinguish cancerous and normal bladder tissues
but also
to detect bladder cancer from bladder washings.
spectroscopy possesses several advantages comparing with
other spectroscopy methods, such as (i) negligible interference
from water, (ii) rich vibrational information on bonding and
interactions of molecular groups, (iii) narrow vibrational
bands, and (iv) resonance and surface enhancement
possibilities. The SERS technique overcomes the low inherent
sensitivity of ordinary Raman spectroscopy. Several groups
have demonstrated the promising advantages of the SERS
approach in analysis of bladder cancer.
The rst attempts
to employ SERS spectroscopy for the analysis of the cultured
bladder cancer cells are described by Jin et al.
in 2015.
Following studies have shown that in vivo imaging of the
bladder tissue can be performed using SERS nanotags
or that
the noninvasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancer cells can
be determined from liquid biopsies.
Importance of develop-
ment of new highly eective SERS substrates for analysis of
bladder cancer cells was well-recognized.
Thus, highly
ordered silver nanopore and nanocap arrays were fabricated by
using porous layers of anodic alumina membranes.
Chuang et al.
demonstrated the advantages of hollow
AuxCu1xalloy nanoshells for SERS detection of bladder
cancer cells. Progress in SERS-based discrimination of various
cancer cell types including bladder cancer cells was achieved by
combining antibody-conjugated magnetic beads and antigen-
targeting SERS nanotags.
To improve the detection
precision, an internal-reference based ratio-metric SERS assay
and dual-mode Au-nanoprobe technique based on
determination of telomerase activity in cell extracts and urine
of patients by combining SERS and calorimetry measure-
were developed. The potential of SERS spectroscopy
for discrimination of high-grade and low-grade bladder cancer
cells was demonstrated.
The possibility to predict the
bladder cancer grade by SERS analysis of urine supernatant
and sediment was proposed.
Recently, a new elegant NIR-
SERS platform based on modied AuAg nanohollows was
developed for eective discrimination of high-grade and low-
grade bladder cancer cells.
In this work, we demonstrated that a label-free SERS
spectroscopy approach, in comparison with other approaches,
can be applied much more easily while still granting sensitive
chemical analysis. The analysis of extracellular uid of bladder
tissue and the tissue itself was performed. We have employed
near-infrared (1064 nm) excitation wavelength ensuring
nonresonant and uorescence-free SERS spectra of biosamples.
It was demonstrated that combination of near-infrared
excitation and citrate-reduced Ag nanoparticles as a substrates
increases repeatability of SERS spectra of biouids.
If a
precise label-free SERS method would be developed it could
be further improved to benet the clinical diagnosis. By
employing optical ber probes SERS method is already being
proposed as a sensitive method allowing on site analysis.
Thus, if coupled with endoscopic analysis, ber probes covered
with SERS active nanoparticles could be used to enhance the
sensitivity and minimize the invasiveness of the tumor
2.1. Sample Collection. Spectral studies of the bladder
tissues were approved by the Vilnius Regional Biomedical
Research Ethics Committee (Document No. 2019/12-1178-
665). The samples of the bladder tissues for SERS
spectroscopic studies were obtained between December 2019
and March 2020 in the Urology Center of the Vilnius
University Hospital Santaros Clinics when performing
transurethral resection of urinary bladder (TURB) or radical
cystectomy (RC). Patients were eligible if they had a clinical or
radiological suspicion of bladder cancer and they required any
of the procedures mentioned (TURB, RC) according to the
Association of Urology. All patients gave an informed consent.
Ineligibility criteria were refusal to participate in the study,
positive urine culture, and untreated coagulopathy.
At the beginning of the TURB procedure, before cutting the
tumor, a single sample of healthy-looking bladder tissue was
obtained for the spectral studies. After the TURB procedure, a
single sample of cancer-suspicious tissue was obtained for the
spectral studies. Malignancy was conrmed pathologically by
examining the remaining resected tissue. When performing
RC, samples of healthy and malignant tissue were obtained
after the procedure. Immediately after surgery, bladder tissue
samples were submitted for histological and spectroscopic
analysis. Thus, every set of samples gathered for the
spectroscopic analysis contained the cancerous or cystitis-
aected tissue and the healthy-looking tissue, which was
collected from the bladder of the same patient. The latter
tissue type for the purpose of convenience is called normal
tissue in the manuscript. The true nature of the tissue that was
considered as healthy-looking was proved by the results of
histological examination.
2.2. Sample Preparation. Samples for the SERS analysis
of the whole tissue were prepared as follows. The small part of
the bulk tissue was cut with a clean scalpel blade. The resected
bladder cancer tissues were rather small due to the limitations
of the surgery (the resection procedure). Therefore, on
average, the analyzed tissue samples were around 1.52mm
in diameter. Subsequently, the cut of tissue was placed with the
cut side up, and a small amount of the concentrated colloidal
solution was deposited on top and dried. The SERS spectra
were then collected directly from the surface of the tissue.
Samples of extracellular uid of the normal, cystitis-aected,
and cancerous bladder tissues analyzed in this work were
prepared in the following manner. A small part of the bladder
tissue was sliced othe bulk tissue and smeared (pressing the
cut side) across the aluminum substrate, which was precleaned
with methanol. The formed extracellular uid layer was dried
in an open environment at room temperature and used for
further studies. Such a sample preparation procedure results in
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creation of a thin lm of extracellular uid, which also includes
single cells of the tissue. Since the samples of extracellular uid
were taken by stamping of the tissue under study on glass
substrate, the stamp retains information about the morphology
of the tissue. The cancerous areas of the tissue are located in
the same places in the stamp, just with a much lower
concentration of the cells. Before collecting the SERS spectra, a
drop of colloidal solution was put on the top of dried
extracellular uid lm.
To ensure reproducibility of the SERS data, the same
procedure for the preparation of the samples and the colloidal
solution was reproduced in a very thorough and careful
manner in order to keep the experimental parameters always
the same (or at least as similar as possible). Therefore, high
reproducibility of the SERS spectra was achieved in this study.
The volume of the colloidal solution added on top of the
extracellular uid or tissue sample for each measurement was
always the same, 10 μL. Therefore, the incubation time of the
AgNPs and the tissue or extracellular uid layer samples was
relatively constant. The samples were measured immediately
after the nanoparticle solution drop was dried. Since small
drops of liquid were used, the drying process took around 30 s.
2.3. Measurement Equipment. The UVvis electronic
absorption spectra of silver nanoparticles were recorded using
a two-channel UVvisNIR spectrophotometer Lambda 1050
(PerkinElmer, USA) equipped with two light sources,
deuterium and halogen lamps. Spectra were collected in a
wavelength range of 250 to 1100 nm and a resolution of 5 nm
were selected.
The Raman scattering and the SERS spectra were collected
using Fourier Transform (FT-Raman) MultiRAM spectrom-
eter (Bruker GmbH, Germany). The samples were irradiated
using 1064 nm wavelength Nd:YAG laser. Spectra collection
was done in 180-deg geometry. Gold plated hyperbolic 90-deg
angle mirror objective coupled with a CCD camera was used.
The focal length of the objective was 33 mm and the diameter
of the focused laser beam was 100 μm (an average intensity at
the sample of 955 W/cm2at 100 mW of laser power). A liquid
nitrogen cooled Ge detector was used to collect the scattered
light. All spectra were collected in the wavenumber range of
1003600 cm1with a resolution of 4 cm1. A Blackman
Harris 3 term apodization function and a zero-lling factor of 2
were used for the Fourier transform. To avoid time-dependent
changes in the biosample and increase repeatability of the
measurements, the time required to prepare the sample with
Ag nanoparticles and acquire the SERS spectrum was
suciently short, no longer than 5 min.
The variability of the experimental and SERS spectra was
calculated as follows. First, using the normalized experimental
spectra, the averaged SERS spectrum was calculated for each
class: cancer, normal, and cystitis. Second, using the spectral
data, the standard deviation was calculated for each individual
data point. Finally, the standard deviation was visualized
together with the averaged spectra for each class.
2.4. Preparation and Characterization of the Colloi-
dal Solution of Silver Nanoparticles. Silver nanoparticles
were prepared in accordance to the procedure described by
Lee and Meisel.
In short, 18 mg of silver nitrate (AgNO3,
99%, Merck, Germany) was dissolved in 100 mL of distilled
water. Next, an aqueous solution of AgNO3was heated to
boiling temperature while stirring constantly. When the boiling
point was reached, 2 mL of a 1% solution of trisodium citrate
(Na3C6H5O7, 99%, Merck, Germany) was added, and the
whole mixture was left heated for an additional hour while
being stirred rapidly. After 1 h, the solution was cooled to a
room temperature in an ice-bath. The synthesis procedure
results in a grayish-green solution of silver nanoparticles. To
increase the concentration of nanoparticles, the colloidal
solution was centrifuged for 10 min at 6500 rpm. After that,
15 mL out of the initial 30 mL solution was removed as a
supernatant. The left-over concentrated solution was used for
the Raman scattering measurements.
Biological media may aect the stability of synthesized Ag
Based on SERS measurements, we found
that the nanoparticles remained stable for more than 2 h. This
might be related to the fact that the samples of extracellular
uid of bladder tissue and colloidal solution were dried. Also,
the whole process of sample preparation and SERS measure-
ment was rather short, no longer than 5 min. Recently, Valenti
and Giacomell
have demonstrated the stability of citrate-
capped Ag nanoparticles against dissolution in biologically
relevant conditions. The stability of silver nanoparticles capped
with dierent agents (including citrate), in various conditions
of biological media (dierent pH levels, electrolyte concen-
tration, buers) was investigated by MacCuspie.
It was found
that the performance of the citrate-capped Ag nanoparticles
can be observed up to 5 h or more.
3.1. Characterization of Silver Nanoparticles. Silver
nanoparticles were characterized by UVvis spectroscopy and
transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis (Figure S1).
Only one broad band centered at 450 nm was observed in the
UVvis spectrum. Integrated intensity of this band was found
to increase by a factor of 1.6 after centrifugation (6500 rpm)
indicating an increase in concentration of Ag nanoparticles.
Based on analysis of TEM image, the average diameter of
spherical nanoparticles was found to be about 80 nm. The size
distribution of synthesized Ag nanoparticles is shown in Figure
S2. The suitability of Ag nanoparticles for SERS studies was
tested by using uric acid as an adsorbate (Figure S3). The
calculated analytical enhancement factor for centrifuged at
6500 rpm nanoparticles was found to be 8 ×104.
Before conduction of the experiments with biological
samples, the SERS spectrum of the bare Ag nanoparticles
was recorded (Figure 1). Such a spectrum is needed in order to
eliminate the bands present from adsorbed stabilizing species
or impurities, which might seriously perturb the spectrum of
samples under investigation.
The strong feature near 236
cm1dominates in the SERS spectrum. Similar intense band
(232 cm1) was observed previously in SERS spectrum of
citrate-reduced Ag nanoparticles.
This band was assigned to
the stretching vibration of silveroxygen bond. It should be
noted that stretching vibration of AgCl bond occurs in the
similar wavenumber region.
A small amount from chloride
salt impurities in chemical compounds used for preparation of
Ag nanoparticles may contribute to the observed low-
frequency band. In this work, chloride salts were not used
for synthesis of Ag nanoparticles. Therefore, the stretching
vibration of AgO bond was suggested as a major contribution
for the low-frequency band at 236 cm1observed in this work.
Thus, the low frequency spectral region is not useful for
analysis of biological samples; however, the frequency region
above 300 cm1does not contain any distinct spectral features
and was explored for further SERS analysis.
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3.2. Comparison of Raman and SERS spectra. Figure 2
compares Raman and SERS spectra of normal and cancerous
bladder tissues and their extracellular uid. One can see that
ordinary Raman spectra dier considerably comparing with the
SERS spectra from the same samples. Raman spectra from
tissue samples exhibit strong bands related to CH2deformation
vibration near 1438 cm1, the Amide-I stretching mode at
1660 cm1, and broad features in the range 12501350 cm1
mainly due to the Amide-III vibrational mode.
In contrast,
SERS spectra of tissue exhibit many intense bands in the lower
frequency region. This is because SERS spectrum represent
adsorbed species at the surface of Ag nanoparticles and
operation of special surface selection rules.
In the case of
extracellular uids, no ordinary Raman spectra are observed;
however, intense SERS spectra are acquired. As can be
observed, conventional Raman scattering spectra do not
provide clear information on the nature of the sample (normal
or cancerous). Slight spectral dierences can be observed in
the Raman spectra of the tissue but these dierences are
extremely small, and any discrimination of the tissues would be
complicated. Compared to that, spectral dierences between
normal and cancerous samples observed in the SERS spectra
are much greater (especially in the case of extracellular uid
samples). Because of the intense spectra from extracellular
uids and strong response in the ngerprint spectral region of
tissue samples, in the following we will discuss only the SERS
3.3. SERS Spectroscopy of Bladder Tissue Samples.
The total of 58 bladder tissue samples of 30 dierent patients
(28 healthy, 25 cancer patients, and 5 patients aected by
cystitis) were collected and studied in this work. The
histological examination was performed for all the collected
samples. The results of histological analysis of the bladder
tissues used in this study are presented in Table 1. Cancers
were classied by TNM (tumor node metastasis), a globally
recognized standard for classication the extent of spread of
For determination of the spectral dierences between
healthy, cancerous, and cystitis-aected bladder tissues, SERS
spectra were recorded. The spectra were collected at ve
dierent points for each of the bladder samples (tissues and
their extracellular uid layers) in order to take into account
possible dierences of the spectra at dierent measuring
points. The averaged SERS spectra of bladder tissues are
presented in Figure 3. The spectra were normalized by
Figure 1. SERS spectrum of the centrifuged colloidal solution of silver
nanoparticles used in this study. The excitation wavelength is 1064
Figure 2. Comparison of conventional Raman and SERS spectra of
normal (lower spectra, blue curve) and cancerous (upper spectra, red
curve) bladder tissues and their extracellular uids. Values of Raman
shifts over broken bars denote the bands related with the strongest
spectral changes. The excitation wavelength is 1064 nm.
Table 1. Results of Histological Analysis of Bladder Tissues
Used in the Study
histological type TNM
dierentiation grade number of patients
urothelial carcinoma pTa low-grade 9
urothelial carcinoma pTa high-grade 8
urothelial carcinoma pT1 high-grade 3
urothelial carcinoma pT2a high-grade 2
urothelial carcinoma pT2b high-grade 1
urothelial carcinoma pT3a high-grade 2
nonspecic cystitis −− 5
Abbreviation: TNM, tumor node metastasis.
Figure 3. Averaged SERS spectra of cystitis-aected, cancerous and
normal bladder tissue samples and the dierence spectrum with a
magnied intensity (×4) between the averaged spectra of cancerous
and normal tissues. The gray areas in the spectra represent the
standard deviation of the intensity. The excitation wavelength is 1064
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applying vector normalization and were shifted along the SERS
intensity axis for clarity. Gray areas indicate the standard
deviation of the intensity of the SERS spectral bands. These
changes may be reasoned by the concentration variations due
to nonuniform distribution of structural molecules. The
distribution of cancer relevant molecules in the human body
depends on physiology, lifestyle, physical activity, food intake,
medication, illnesses, and other factors. Furthermore, in the
case of cancer, the concentration of such molecules in the
tissue may vary with dierent type of the tumor, its stage, and
morphological changes in the cancer cells. It is also important
to note that during the surgery the exact borderline between
normal and cancerous tissues is invisible. Therefore, cancerous
cells can be detected in a sample of a healthy tissue sample and
vice versa.
Analysis of the averaged SERS spectra of healthy and
cancerous bladder tissue revealed that no signicant spectral
dierences can be determined between them. To enhance
small spectral deviations between the studied samples, we have
constructed the dierence spectrum; such an approach was
previously used for detailed Raman/SERS analysis of bladder
The dierence spectrum between the spectra
of cancerous and normal tissues showed two spectral bands of
interest (Figure 3). These are located at 660 and 891 cm1.
Also, by comparison of these spectra with the SERS spectra of
tissues aected by cystitis, three SERS spectral bands that are
absent or have low intensity in the spectra of normal and
cancerous tissues were identied. These bands are located at
724, 1222, and 1438 cm1. In order to explain the observed
dierences in the SERS spectra of urinary bladder tissues, a
tentative assignment of the SERS bands was performed in
accordance with the literature.
It can be stated that
the main spectral dierences may be related to the SERS
spectral bands of Amide III (1222 cm1), adenine (724 cm1),
cysteine (660 and 891 cm1), and proteins (1438 cm1). In
addition, the 1438 cm1band may have some contribution
from oxygenated guanosine ring stretching vibrations.
should be noted that all of the spectral bands are directly
related to the constituents of the analyzed samples and not the
molecules in the composition of the colloidal solution itself.
No distinct spectral bands in the discussed spectral region were
observed in the SERS spectrum of the colloidal solution (see
Figure 1).
3.4. SERS Spectroscopy of Extracellular Fluid. The
sample smearing technique was chosen in this work, since it
was already used in our previous studies where we have shown
that extracellular uid samples also contain single tissue
In these studies, we have tested the reproducibility of
such samples and have noticed that only minor changes in the
intensity of the spectral bands are observed. To average out the
small spectral dierences which result from the small variation
of the sample composition or thickness, the SERS spectra of
extracellular uid were also collected at ve randomly chosen
points of every sample. The two dierent measurement points
were at least 1 mm apart. It should also be noted that the
diameter of the focused laser spot in our experiments was 100
μm what is a relatively large area if compared to Raman
microscopy measurements. Collection of the SERS signal from
such area could be regarded as an averaging of the spectral
information since in Raman microscopy the diameter of the
area of measurement is only few micrometers. To represent the
reproducibility of a typical sample, the SERS spectra collected
at ve randomly selected points of the extracellular uid of
normal bladder tissue is presented in the Figure 4. As can be
observed, only slight dierences in intensity result from the
point of measurement.
An important matter is the spectral variance source. Figure 5
compares averaged intrasample and interpatient SERS spectra.
One can see that the intrasample variance is quite small in
comparison to the interpatient spectra. This shows that the
variance comes from the dierences in the tissues of the
patients. Such dierences are a result of diseases and their
progression in case of spectra of the cancerous or cystitis-
aected samples and most probably the dierent lifestyles
(food, metabolism, etc.) in the case of normal samples. The
SERS spectra of extracellular uid of healthy, tumor, and
cystitis-aected tissues containing single cells are presented in
Figure 6. It is notable that the standard deviation of the
intensity of the vibrational bands (visualized by gray area) in
Figure 4. SERS spectra of extracellular uid of normal bladder tissue
collected at ve randomly selected points of the sample. The
excitation wavelength is 1064 nm.
Figure 5. Comparison of averaged intrasample and interpatient SERS
spectra of extracellular uid of normal, cancer, and cystitis-aected
samples. The gray areas in the spectra represent the standard
deviation of the intensity. The excitation wavelength is 1064 nm. Five
experimental spectra were averaged.
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these spectra may be attributed not only to the individual
changes due to dierent lifestyle of each patient but also to the
peculiarities of the sample preparationthe uneven surface of
the extracellular uid layers. This is because the intensity of the
conventional and surface enhanced Raman scattering signals
depends on the thickness of the test specimen (the number of
the molecules contributing to the Raman signal). A very thin
layer of an extracellular uid with single cells results in the
suciently strong SERS signal, while the SERS spectrum of the
thick layer may resemble the Raman spectrum of the whole
The main spectral dierences that allow the discrimination
of the healthy and cancerous tissues can be observed in the
SERS spectra of extracellular uid presented in Figure 6. These
vibrational spectral bands are located at 1052 and 1414 cm1,
respectively. The SERS band of the extracellular uid of
cancerous bladder tissue at 1052 cm1is rather intense, while
the band at 1414 cm1is less intense in the spectra of healthy
and cystitis-aected tissues. Some SERS spectra of healthy
tissue do not contain these bands at all.
Spectral alterations are more clearly visible in the SERS-
dierence spectrum (Figure 6) constructed from averaged
cancerous and normal and cancerous and cystitis aected
bladder spectra. The positive-going features in this spectrum
are related with an additional or intensied bands characteristic
for cancerous samples. Thus, an intense and sharp positive-
going feature is visible at 1052 cm1, while two lower intensity
bands appear near 1414 and 660 cm1. It should be noted that
intensication of the latter band is not clearly visible from the
averaged SERS spectra of the extracellular uid of the
cancerous bladder tissue. In order to highlight the spectral
dierences and variability of the spectral marker bands, the
positions of the marker bands, the mean intensity, and the
standard deviation values observed in the SERS spectra of
bladder tissues (Figure 3) and extracellular uids (Figure 6)
are listed in Table 2.
3.5. SERS Marker Bands of Bladder Cancer/Cystitis.
Let us dene the origin of the bands, characteristic to
cancerous samples (Table 3). SERS spectra of selected
biomolecules which could contribute to the observed spectra
of bladder samples obtained at 1064 nm excitation wavelength
are presented in Figure 7. One can see that tyrosine residues
from proteins, cysteine, ATP, thymine ring, guanine ring, and
lactic acid may contribute to 1052 cm1band. In the case of
Tyr and Thymine, this is a relatively low intensity feature
compared with other modes of these compounds. However, in
the case of lactic acid molecules, this is the dominant and
characteristic vibrational mode. Cysteine molecules may also
contribute to the observed spectra due to exhibition of broad
and intense feature near 660 cm1associated to CS
stretching vibration in addition to the 1052 cm1band.
Thus, based on examination of presented SERS spectra of
selected compounds and literature data analysis we suggest
that the major contribution for the band located at 1052 cm1
comes from the ν(CO), ν(CN), and ν(CC) stretching
vibrations of lactic acid
and/or cysteine
The increased intensity of this band in the cancerous tissue can
be also explained by the increased amount of the cysteine,
since such compound is related to the development of cancer.
More precisely, a correlation between the cancer growth and
the availability of cysteine was shown to be especially strong in
bladder cancer.
Thus, the uptake of cysteine molecules is
seen to be increased in the cancerous tissue.
The vibrational band in the SERS spectra of the extracellular
uid of the bladder cancer tissues, observed at 1414 cm1, was
found to be associated with stretching vibrations of protein,
DNA, lipids, and lactic acid molecules (Figure 7). SERS-
dierence spectrum suggests the presence of two positive-
going features in this spectral region at 1414 and 1448 cm1
(Figure 6). Intense bands in this spectral region are
characteristic for lipid molecules due to scissoring bending
vibration of methylene groups.
Lipids perform the function
of cellular energy storage and are involved in signal
transduction, cell proliferation, and growth processes. Since
more energy is used during the uncontrolled division and
Figure 6. Averaged SERS spectra of the extracellular uid of cystitis-
aected, cancerous, and normal bladder tissues and the dierence
spectra with a magnied intensity (×4) between the averaged
extracellular uid of cancerous and normal and cancerous and cystitis-
aected tissues. The gray areas in the spectra represent the standard
deviation of the intensity. The excitation wavelength is 1064 nm.
Table 2. Mean Values and the Standard Deviation of the Main Spectral Bands Observed in the SERS Spectra of Bladder Tissue
and Extracellular Fluid
sample wavenumber, cm1INormal,au ICancer,au ICystitis,au
tissue 660 1.26 ±0.42 1.38 ±0.35 1.20 ±0.40
724 0.68 ±0.28 0.69 ±0.17 0.85 ±0.49
1222 0.62 ±0.20 0.64 ±0.14 0.92 ±0.27
1438 0.91 ±0.20 0.90 ±0.15 1.16 ±0.23
extracellular uid 660 0.58 ±0.36 0.68 ±0.38 0.50 ±0.13
1052 0.37 ±0.17 0.89 ±0.39 0.39 ±0.16
1414 0.86 ±0.10 0.99 ±0.26 0.83 ±0.11
1448 1.08 ±0.07 1.20 ±0.14 1.20 ±0.09
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growth of cancer cells, lipid metabolism is disrupted in tumor
The altered metabolism of these molecules may lead to
dierent lipid concentrations in healthy and cancer cells. These
changes depend on the type and stage of the cancer and its
aggression. Changes in the intensity of these bands can be
inuenced by changes in the bodys genetic material, which is
typical for the cancer. It is known that structural mutations in
DNA can be one of the causes of the formation of cancer cells.
The increase of lactic acid concentration in cancerous tissue
triphosphate (ATP) molecules are the major source of energy
in the cell. In healthy intact cells, most ATP is synthesized by
oxidative phosphorylation in the presence of ADP (adenosine
diphosphate) and phosphoric acid during oxidationreduction
reactions. However, cancer cells are characterized by a rapid
process of glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose molecules into
pyruvate molecules, and the formation of ATP molecules.
Glycolysis (the anaerobic pathway for glucose metabolism), in
terms of ATP synthesis, is not as ecient as oxidative
phosphorylation. However, it produces metabolites that are
useful for cell division and tumor growth, including lactic acid
secreted during pyruvate fermentation.
Partial oxidation of
DNA is also related with genomic mutations and development
of cancer.
Kundu and Loppnow recently demonstrated that
major oxidative damage of DNA associated with 8-oxodeox-
yguanosine (8-oxo-dG) molecules can be reliably detected by
ultraviolet resonance Raman spectroscopy.
The Raman
marker band of 8-oxo-dG ring stretching vibration was found
at 1449 cm1, which is close to our observed 1414/1448 cm1
SERS bands.
The vibrational band observed in the SERS-dierence
spectrum at 660 cm1is most likely related to the breathing
vibration of guanine rings in DNA or CS stretching vibration
of cysteine residues in proteins (Figure 7). This is again
supported by the already mentioned role of the cysteine
molecules in the proliferation of bladder cancer.
3.6. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the SERS
Spectra. To evaluate the reliability and accuracy of the
spectral features of the cystitis-aected bladder tissue, the
principal components analysis (PCA) was performed using an
algorithm built in the Origin Pro 9 software (OriginLab
Corporation, Northampton, MA). However, due to the small
data set, at this stage of the research, the PCA was conducted
only in regard to the general clinical problemdiscrimination
between cancerous and normal bladder tissues. With a bigger
data set, more in-depth analysis (for example, the classication
of the SERS spectra in regard to the tumor grade or type)
could be carried out using a more sophisticated tools for
statistical analysis. Such an analysis is planned in the future for
this research when a larger data set will be gathered.
While performing the PCA, the spectral data were analyzed
using the rst ve principal components. This number was
chosen because together these components explain more than
97% of the variance in the case of spectral tissue data and more
than 99% in the case of the spectral ECF data. Projections of
the data in the space of various principal component
combinations were produced and analyzed. However, the
best results of the analysis, which are shown below, were
observed using the rst two principal components. The SERS
spectra of the bladder tissues and the extracellular uid were
rst analyzed in the whole spectral ngerprint region. The PCA
analysis of the collected SERS spectra analysis performed on
the whole spectral region has given unsatisfactory results in
both cases (tissues and extracellular uid) since the SERS
spectra could not be separated into dierent groups (normal,
cancerous, cystitis-aected). This may be reasoned by the
intensity variation of the spectral bands of molecules which are
not associated neither with cancerous nor cystitis-aected
Table 3. SERS Marker Bands of Bladder Cancer/Cystitis Based on Analysis of Tissue and Extracellular Fluid Samples
cm1vibrational mode molecular group comments
724 A ring breathing adenine ring in DNA tissue; possible marker band of
1222 Amide-III amide group in proteins tissue; possible marker band of
1438 scissoring CH2; W6; 8-oxo-dG
ring stretching methylene groups in proteins and lipids; tryptophan residue in proteins; 8-
oxo-deoxyguanosine ring of DNA tissue; possible marker band of
660 G ring breathing; CS
stretching guanine ring in DNA; cysteine extracellular uid; marker band
of cancer
1052 CO, CN, and CC
stretching lactic acid; cysteine extracellular uid; best marker
band of cancer
1414/1448 scissoring CH2; W6; 8-oxo-dG
ring stretching methylene groups in proteins and lipids; tryptophan residue in proteins;
8-oxo-deoxyguanosine ring of DNA extracellular uid; marker band
of cancer
Figure 7. Dierence spectra of extracellular uid between the
cancerous and cystitis aected, and cancerous and normal bladder
tissues. The SERS spectra of dierent biomolecule solutions (1 mM)
are also presented for comparison. The excitation wavelength is 1064
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ACS Omega 2022, 7, 1053910549
tissues. The concentration of these molecules may dier due to
other factors. Therefore, the change in the intensity of the
spectral bands related to these molecules only introduce the
unwanted variation (noise) which in result makes the PCA
analysis more dicult.
Then the analysis was performed in the regions of the
vibrational bands that can be used for identication the bladder
tissue cancer and cystitis. The following regions of the SERS
spectra, 700750, 11901260, and 14001460 cm1, were
selected for the bladder tissue spectra analysis. PCA performed
in the spectral regions of potential markers bands revealed that
the projections of the data of normal, cancerous, and cystitis-
aected tissue spectra partly overlap in the plane of the
principal components. No clear boundaries can be drawn
between the groups of points corresponding to the spectra of
dierent tissues. It can be assumed that variations in the
intensity of the vibrational bands, which have been identied as
spectral markers of cystitis-aected in bladder tissue studies,
may be random and only depend on dierent patient
physiology and other factors. For this reason, intensity changes
of the respective bands cannot be attributed to groups of
healthy, cancerous, or cystitis tissues that just exhibit features
that are specic to these groups.
The spectral regions 600750, 10201080, and 13901440
cm1were selected for the analysis of the SERS bands of the
extracellular uid with aim of tissue discrimination. The
spectral bands observed at 660 (guanine, cysteine), 1052
(lactic acid, cysteine) and 1414 cm1(proteins, lipids, DNA,
lactic acid) were identied as the possible spectral markers of
cancer in the study of extracellular uid layers of tissues. In the
PCA diagrams of the spectral regions where 660 and 1414
cm1vibrational bands are observed, the points corresponding
to the data of healthy and cancerous bladder tissues are widely
distributed (Figures S4 and S5). Most of these points overlap.
The dispersion of the points corresponding to the cystitis-
aected tissues in the PCA diagram is also high, making it
dicult to determine the possible area of their accumulation.
The PCA plot of the spectral region 10201080 cm1
associated with the band that was assigned to lactic acid and
cysteine vibrations shows a clearly distinguishable group of
points corresponding to healthy patient data from all patients
(Figure 8). Based on the small dispersion of these points, it can
be assumed that the concentrations of the lactic acid and
cysteine molecules, whose vibrations are assigned to the
spectral band observed at 1052 cm1are similar in all of the
healthy bladder tissues of dierent patients. In the case of the
cancer tissue data, 4 of 21 points fall into the group of points
corresponding to healthy tissue data. This may be inuenced
by the amount of healthy tissue removed with the tumor
during the surgery, inaccuracies in the preparation of
extracellular uid layers, and other factors. The remaining 17
points are suciently distant from the group of points
corresponding to healthy tissues to be considered as a separate
group. These points are widely distributed in comparison to
distribution of other points. A larger variance of the points can
mean a greater dierence between the elements that make up
the data set. Such distribution can be explained by the fact that
dierent malignant cancer cells may contain dierent amounts
of lactic acid, or cysteine molecules, which are related to the
proliferation of cancer and metastasis. In addition, larger
tumors may have higher accumulations of these molecules.
Thus, it can be argued that healthy and cancerous tissues
contain dierent amount of such molecules, which is reected
in the spectra. The points corresponding to the cystitis aected
tissues in the PCA diagram overlap with the group of healthy
tissue points. It can be stated that the changes in the intensity
of the SERS spectra of the extracellular uid layers of cystitis-
aected tissues in the 10201080 cm1region are similar to
the deviations observed in the extracellular uid spectra of
healthy tissues. Thus, an analysis of the principal components
of the 10201080 cm1spectral data revealed that 81% of
cancer tissue samples could be assigned to a separate group
with greater data variance than healthy and cystitis-aected
tissues. In comparison to the clinical standard this detection
leads to the sensitivity of around 85% and specicity of around
97% remembering that distinguishing the cystitis aected
tissue from the cancerous tissue is the sought-after result as
Three types of bladder tissuesnormal, cancerous, and cystitis
aected were examined. Signicant spectral dierences were
observed in the SERS spectra of extracellular uid of bladder
tissues. The intensity of the spectral band, located at 1052
cm1and associated with lactic acid and/or cysteine, is the
highest in the SERS spectra of the extracellular uid of
cancerous tissue, while it is less intense in the spectra of
cystitis-aected tissue and the least intense in the spectra of
normal tissue. This band can be considered as the best SERS
spectral marker of the cancerous tissue. The PCA analysis in
relation to the spectral marker has shown that the cancer tissue
can indeed be distinguished from the normal and cystitis-
aected tissues. With the limited data set used, the sensitivity
and specicity of the methods were 85% and 97%, respectively.
When the uid is taken by the stamping technique,
morphological information of the tissue persists in the dried
uid. However, the discrimination of the cystitis aected
tissues from the normal and cancerous is more dicult since
the intensity of the spectral bands related to internal vibrations
of Amide III (1222 cm1), adenine (724 cm1), and proteins/
lipids (1438 cm1) are more intense in the spectra of cystitis-
aected tissues. Since the SERS spectroscopy is known to be
very sensitive, the use of this method instead of the
conventional Raman or the FTIR absorption spectroscopy
Figure 8. Principal component analysis (PCA) diagram of the 1020
1080 cm1wavenumber region of the SERS spectra of extracellular
uid of normal, cancerous, and cystitis-aected bladder tissue samples.
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ACS Omega 2022, 7, 1053910549
could increase the accuracy of detection of the cancerous tissue
areas. The sensitivity and specicity of the method can be
increased by using a larger data set, or implementing other
colloidal solutions of nanoparticles could improve the
spectroscopic analysis. Development of magneto-plasmonic
with increased eciency for the SERS
studies of the extracellular uids is under way in our laboratory.
To prove the NIR-SERS ability as a diagnostic tool for
discrimination between cancerous and normal bladder cells via
analysis of extracellular uid, more studies with clinical cancer
samples are required.
sıSupporting Information
The Supporting Information is available free of charge at
UVvis absorption spectra of Ag colloidal solution;
TEM image of silver nanoparticles; size distribution of
Ag nanoparticles; Raman and SERS spectra of uric acid;
and principal component analysis diagrams of the 600
750 and 13901440 cm1wavenumber regions of the
SERS spectra of the extracellular uid of normal,
cancerous, and cystitis aected bladder tissue samples
Corresponding Authors
Martynas Velička Institute of Chemical Physics, Faculty of
Physics, Vilnius University, LT-10257 Vilnius, Lithuania;
Gediminas Niaura Institute of Chemical Physics, Faculty of
Physics, Vilnius University, LT-10257 Vilnius, Lithuania;
Department of Organic Chemistry, Center for Physical
Sciences and Technology (FTMC), LT 10257 Vilnius,
Edvinas Zacharovas Institute of Chemical Physics, Faculty
of Physics, Vilnius University, LT-10257 Vilnius, Lithuania
Gediminas Platkevičius Clinic of Gastroenterology,
Nephrourology, and Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine,
Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, LT-03101 Vilnius,
Albertas C
ekauskas Clinic of Gastroenterology,
Nephrourology, and Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine,
Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, LT-03101 Vilnius,
Aru̅nas Z
elvys Clinic of Gastroenterology, Nephrourology,
and Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of
Medicine, Vilnius University, LT-03101 Vilnius, Lithuania
Valdas S
ablinskas Institute of Chemical Physics, Faculty of
Physics, Vilnius University, LT-10257 Vilnius, Lithuania
Complete contact information is available at:
The authors declare no competing nancial interest.
This project has received funding from the European Regional
Development Fund (Project No. 01.2.2-LMT-K-718-03-0078)
under a grant agreement with the Research Council of
Lithuania (LMTLT). The authors gratefully acknowledge the
Center of Spectroscopic Characterization of Materials and
Electronic/Molecular Processes (SPECTROVERSUM Infra-
structure) for use of Raman spectrometer.
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ACS Omega Article
ACS Omega 2022, 7, 1053910549
... Spectral studies of the bladder tissues were approved by the Regional Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (Document No. 2019/12-1178-665). The details of the sample collection methodic is described in our previous paper [25]. Briefly, the samples of the bladder tissues for fiber-based ATR IR spectroscopic studies were obtained between July 2019 and September 2021 in the tertiary Urology Center when performing TURB procedure. ...
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Surgical treatment is widely applied curative approach for bladder cancer. White light cystoscopy (WLC) is currently used for intraoperative diagnostics of malignant lesions but has relatively high false-negative rate. Here we represent an application of label free fiber-based attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy (ATR IR) for freshly resected human bladder tissue examination for 54 patients. Defined molecular spectral markers allow to identify normal and urothelial carcinoma tissues. While methods of statistical analysis (Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and Principal component analysis (PCA)) used for spectral data treatment allow to discriminate tissue types with 91% sensitivity and 96–98% specificity. In the present study the described method was applied for tissue examination under ex vivo conditions. However, after method validation the equipment could be translated from laboratory studies to in situ or even in vivo studies in operating room.
... SERS of proteins in tissues are detectable by directly dropping noble metal nanoparticles on tissues or mixing tissues with a nanoparticle solution, and nanoparticle coating will form at the surface of the tissues [78][79][80]. Alternatively, tissues can be placed on SERS-active substrates and SERS collected from the top of the issues [81]. ...
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Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is powerful for structural characterization of biomolecules under physiological condition. Owing to its high sensitivity and selectivity, SERS is useful for probing intrinsic structural information of proteins and is attracting increasing attention in biophysics, bioanalytical chemistry, and biomedicine. This review starts with a brief introduction of SERS theories and SERS methodology of protein structural characterization. SERS-active materials, related synthetic approaches, and strategies for protein-material assemblies are outlined and discussed, followed by detailed discussion of SERS spectroscopy of proteins with and without cofactors. Recent applications and advances of protein SERS in biomarker detection, cell analysis, and pathogen discrimination are then highlighted, and the spectral reproducibility and limitations are critically discussed. The review ends with a conclusion and a discussion of current challenges and perspectives of promising directions.
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Bladder cancer is the fourth most common malignancy in males. It can present across the whole continuum of severity, from mild through well-differentiated disease to extremely malignant tumours with poor survival rates. As with other vital organ malignancies, proper clinical management involves accurate diagnosis and staging. Chemotherapy consisting of a cisplatin-based regimen is the mainstay in the management of muscle-invasive bladder cancers. Control via cisplatin-based chemotherapy is threatened by the development of chemoresistance. Intracellular cholesterol biosynthesis in bladder cancer cells is considered a contributory factor in determining the chemotherapy response. Farnesyl-diphosphate farnesyltransferase 1 (FDFT1), one of the main regulatory components in cholesterol biosynthesis, may play a role in determining sensitivity towards chemotherapy compounds in bladder cancer. FDFT1-associated molecular identification might serve as an alternative or appendage strategy for early prediction of potentially chemoresistant muscle-invasive bladder cancer tissues. This can be accomplished using Raman spectroscopy. Developments in the instrumentation have led to it becoming one of the most convenient forms of analysis, and there is a highly realistic chance that it will become an effective tool in the pathology lab. Chemosensitive bladder cancer tissues tend to have a higher lipid content, more protein genes and more cholesterol metabolites. These are believed to be associated with resistance towards bladder cancer chemotherapy. Herein, Raman peak assignments have been tabulated as an aid to indicating metabolic changes in bladder cancer tissues that are potentially correlated with FDFT1 expression.
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The value of pH in various parts of protoplasm can affect nearly all aspects of cell functions. Therefore, the determination of intracellular acid-base features is required in many areas of biological and biochemical studies. Because of a significant scientific importance of in vivo intracellular pH measurements, various groups carried out such experiments. In this review article we describe intracellular pH measurements using two the most sensitive optical spectroscopies: surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and fluorescence. It is reasonable to present these two techniques in one review article because the experimental approach in Raman and fluorescence experiments is relatively similar. The basic theoretical background explaining the mechanism of operation of fluorescence and SERS sensors are discussed and the motivations to carry out intracellular pH measurements are briefly described. Future perspectives in this field are also discussed.
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The tumor suppressor p53 protein plays a crucial role in many biological processes. The presence of abnormal concentrations of wild-type p53, or some of its mutants, can be indicative of a pathological cancer state. p53 represents therefore a valuable biomarker for tumor screening approaches and development of suitable biosensors for its detection deserves a high interest in early diagnostics. Here, we revisit our experimental approaches, combining Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) and nanotechnological materials, for ultrasensitive detection of wild-type and mutated p53, in the perspective to develop biosensors to be used in clinical diagnostics. The Raman marker is provided by a small molecule (4-ATP) acting as a bridge between gold nanoparticles (NPs) and a protein biomolecule. The Azurin copper protein and specific antibodies of p53 were used as a capture element for p53 (wild-type and its mutants). The developed approaches allowed us to reach a detection level of p53 down to 10−17 M in both buffer and serum. The implementation of the method in a biosensor device, together with some possible developments are discussed.
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Raman spectroscopy has capability for fingerprint molecular identification with high sensitivity if weak Raman scattering signal can be enhanced by several orders of magnitudes. Herein, we report a heterostructure-based surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) platform using 2D graphene oxide (GO) and 0D plasmonic gold nanostar (GNS), with capability of Raman enhancement factor (EF) in the range of ∼10¹⁰ via light–matter and matter–matter interactions. The current manuscript reveals huge Raman enhancement for heterostructure materials occurring via both electromagnetic enhancement mechanism though plasmonic GNS nanoparticle (EF ∼10⁷) and chemical enhancement mechanism through 2D-GO material (EF ∼10²). Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation data and experimental investigation indicate that GNS allows light to be concentrated into nanoscale “hotspots” formed on the heterostructure surface, which significantly enhanced Raman efficiency via a plasmon–exciton light coupling process. Notably, we have shown that mixed-dimensional heterostructure-based SERS can be used for tracking of cancer-derived exosomes from triple-negative breast cancer and HER2(+) breast cancer with a limit of detection (LOD) of 3.8 × 10² exosomes/mL for TNBC-derived exosomes and 4.4 × 10² exosomes/mL for HER2(+) breast cancer-derived exosomes.
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Cancer cells undergo a metabolic rewiring in order to fulfill the energy and biomass requirements. Cysteine is a pivotal organic compound that contributes for cancer metabolic remodeling at three different levels: (1) in redox control, free or as a component of glutathione; (2) in ATP production, via hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production, serving as a donor to electron transport chain (ETC), and (3) as a carbon source for biomass and energy production. In the present review, emphasis will be given to the role of cysteine as a carbon source, focusing on the metabolic reliance on cysteine, benefiting the metabolic fitness and survival of cancer cells. Therefore, the interplay between cysteine metabolism and other metabolic pathways, as well as the regulation of cysteine metabolism related enzymes and transporters, will be also addressed. Finally, the usefulness of cysteine metabolic route as a target in cancer treatment will be highlighted.
Recently, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been successfully used in the non-invasive detection of bladder tumor (BCa). The internal standard method was considered as an effective ratiometric strategy for calibrating signal fluctuation originated from the interference of measurement conditions and samples. However, it is still difficult to detect the target mRNA quantitatively using the current ratiometric SERS nanosensors. In this study, we developed an internal reference based ratiometric SERS assay. Two kinds of molecular beacons (MB) carrying Raman reporter molecules were anchored on sea-urchin-like Au nanoclusters (AuNCs). Thymidine kinase1 (TK1) MBs with hexachlorofluorescein (HEX) were used to capture tumor biomarker TK1 mRNA, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) MBs with 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein (FAM) were used to offer internal standard signals. The internal reference GAPDH MB can reflect the consistent content of the GAPDH mRNA in single cells. The ratiometric method (I745/I645) can more accurately reflect the content of target mRNA in single cells. The ratiometric nanoprobes had excellent stability (coefficient of variation: 0.3%), high sensitivity (detection limit: 3.4 pM), high specificity (capable of single-base mismatch recognition) and ribozyme-resistant stability. Notably, the nanoprobes can effectively distinguish BCa cells from normal cells, and it was easy to contour the single BCa cell using the ratiometric method. By combining asymmetric polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and ratiometric nanoprobes, it was easy to distinguish the SERS ratio (I745/I645) as low concentration as 10−14 M. Further clinical detection in urine samples from patients with BCa confirmed its potential for early noninvasive diagnosis of BCa with the sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 100%, which is superior to the current urine cytological method.
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is emerging as a novel strategy for biofluid analysis. In this review, we delineate four experimental SERS protocols that are frequently used for the profiling of biofluids: 1) liquid SERS for the detection of purine metabolites; 2) iodide-modified liquid SERS for the detection of proteins; 3) dried SERS for the detection of both purine metabolites and proteins; 4) resonant Raman for the detection of carotenoids. To explain the selectivity of each experimental SERS protocol, we introduce a heuristic model for the chemisorption of analytes mediated by adsorbed ions (adions) onto the SERS substrate. Next, we show that the promising results of SERS liquid biopsy stems from the fact that the concentration levels of purine metabolites, proteins and carotenoids are informative of the cellular turnover rate, inflammation, and oxidative stress, respectively. These processes are perturbed in virtually every disease, from cancer to autoimmune maladies. Finally, we review recent SERS liquid biopsy studies and discuss future steps that are required for translating SERS in the clinical setting.
Aim Metabolites present in urine reflect the current phenotype of the cancer state. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) can be used in urine supernatant or sediment to largely reflect the metabolic status of the body. Materials & methods: SERS was performed to detect bladder cancer (BCa) and predict tumour grade from urine supernatant, which contains various system metabolites, as well as from urine sediment, which contains exfoliated tumour cells. Results & discussion: Upon combining the urinary supernatant and sediment results, the total diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of SERS were 100% and 98.85%, respectively, for high-grade tumours and 97.53% and 90.80%, respectively, for low-grade tumours. Conclusion: The present results suggest high potential for SERS to detect BCa from urine, especially when combining both urinary supernatant and sediment results.
Here, we utilized inert [email protected] NPs as a potential starting material, enabling restrictions on chemical etching and resistance to external toxic surfactant adsorption. Such modulated oxidation-dissolution of Cu allowed preservation of the original nano-Cu shape and facilitated the subsequent deposition of Au atoms to form AuCu nanoshells with a turntable Au/Cu ratio. An increase in the Au concentration fraction at the surface nanolayer of the AuxCu1-x nanoshells (x=0.41 to 0.86¬) could intensify the polarizability at the interface structure to essentially aid both electromagnetic field- and chemical-improved SERS. Among the AuxCu1-x composites, Au0.86Cu0.14 nanoshell exhibited boost SERS with amplification to 2-26-fold that of the pure Au nanorods, [email protected] NPs, and [email protected] nanocubes, and [email protected] nanoshells. Because of the intended SERS response and lower cytotoxicity, we further conjugated the FGFR3 antibody onto the surface of the Au0.86Cu0.14 nanoshells to firstly demonstrate the SERS detection for the highly selective sensing and recognition of T24 human bladder cells. Time-dependent SERS monitor presented the targeted labeling with a signal increase from 0 to 24 h followed by an endocytosis route. In bladder cancer cell uptake, Au0.86Cu0.14 nanoshell possessed very slight release of Cu species which could deliver ''secretion signal'' to trigger the outward transportation of AuCu hollow nanoparticles to leave bladder living cells, showing an alternative method with the potential Au-Cu composite to overcome previous inorganic SERS nanoparticles that often encounter cellular accumulation and cannot be secreted.
Studying the biochemistry of yeast cells has enabled scientists to understand many essential cellular processes in human cells. Further development of biotechnological and medical progress requires revealing surface chemistry in living cells by using a non-destructive and molecular structure sensitive technique. In this study shell-isolated nanoparticle-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SHINERS) was applied for probing the molecular structure of Metschnikowia pulcherrima yeast cells. Important function of studied cells is the ability to eliminate iron from growth media by precipitating the insoluble pigment pulcherrimin. Comparative SERS and SHINERS analysis of the yeast cells in combination with bare Au and shell-isolated [email protected]2 nanoparticles were performed. It was observed that additional bands, such as adenine ring-related vibrational modes appear due to interaction with bare Au nanoparticles; the registered spectra do not coincide with the spectra where [email protected]2 nanoparticles were used. SHINERS spectra of M. pulcherrima were significantly enhanced comparing to the Raman spectra. Based on first-principles calculations and 830-nm excited Raman analysis of pulcherrimin, the SHINERS signatures of iron pigment in yeast cells were revealed. Being protected from direct interaction of metal with adsorbate, [email protected]2 nanoparticles yield reproducible and reliable vibrational signatures of yeast cell wall constituents.