Liquid biopsy for cancer diagnosis using vibrational spectroscopy : systematic review

Anderson, D J and Anderson, R G and Moug, S J and Baker, M J (2020) Liquid biopsy for cancer diagnosis using vibrational spectroscopy : systematic review. BJS Open, 4 (4). pp. 554-562. ISSN 2474-9842 (

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Background Vibrational spectroscopy (VS) is a minimally invasive tool for analysing biological material to detect disease. This study aimed to review its application to human blood for cancer diagnosis. Methods A systematic review was undertaken using a keyword electronic database search (MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, TRIP and Cochrane Library), with all original English-language manuscripts examining the use of vibrational spectral analysis of human blood for cancer detection. Studies involving fewer than 75 patients in the cancer or control group, animal studies, or where the primary analyte was not blood were excluded. Results From 1446 results, six studies (published in 2010–2018) examining brain, bladder, oral, breast, oesophageal and hepatic cancer met the criteria for inclusion, with a total population of 2392 (1316 cancer, 1076 control; 1476 men, 916 women). For cancer detection, reported mean sensitivities in each included study ranged from 79·3 to 98 per cent, with specificities of 82·8–95 per cent and accuracies between 81·1 and 97·1 per cent. Heterogeneity in reporting strategies, methods and outcome measures made meta-analysis inappropriate. Conclusion VS shows high potential for cancer diagnosis, but until there is agreement on uniform standard reporting methods and studies with adequate sample size for valid classification models have been performed, its value in clinical practice will remain uncertain.