Because not all cancerous tumors respond equally to treatments and radiation therapy, clinicians’ treatment regimens and patient outcomes are complicated. A research team has now used Raman spectroscopy to reveal differences between tumors that responded to treatment and tumors that were resistant to treatment, potentially offering a way to distinguish between the two early in the therapeutic regime.
The team used Raman spectroscopy to map biomolecular changes in radiation-resistant and radiation-sensitive human lung tumors and two types of head and neck tumors.
It discovered that radiation-sensitive tumors had more significant lipid and collagen expression changes. These changes were consistent across all tumors and related to whether the tumor was responsive or non-responsive to radiation therapy.
The project team noted that the delay in assessing tumor response to radiation therapy continues to pose a significant challenge to patients with non-responsive tumors’ quality of life.
They used label-free Raman spectroscopic mapping to uncover latent microenvironmental differences in treatment-resistant and -sensitive tumors.
In addition to accurately assessing tumor response to therapy, the combination of these Raman spectral markers may offer a path to predicting response in tumors before starting treatment. Identifying a metabolic signature associated with a patient’s post-therapy response may eventually be possible.