(HealthDay News) — A Raman spectroscopy technique can very accurately diagnose breast lesions and detect microcalcifications in core needle biopsies, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Ishan Barman, Ph.D., from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues obtained Raman spectra from fresh stereotactic core needle biopsies from 33 women at 50 normal tissue sites, 77 lesions with microcalcifications, and 19 lesions without microcalcifications. The data were used to develop a single-step diagnostic algorithm to distinguish normal from abnormal tissue in the absence and presence of microcalcifications.

The researchers found that the algorithm had a sensitivity of 62.5 percent, a specificity of 100 percent, a positive predictive value of 100 percent, and a negative predictive value of 95.6 percent for the diagnosis of breast cancer with or without microcalcifications. The algorithm could classify normal tissue, fibrocystic change, fibroadenoma, or breast cancer, with or without microcalcifications, with an overall accuracy of 82.2 percent. The authors note that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was the most commonly diagnosed breast cancer and are the most common lesion associated with microcalcifications.

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“Our study shows the potential of Raman spectroscopy to concomitantly detect microcalcifications and diagnose associated lesions, including DCIS, and thus provide real-time feedback to radiologists during such biopsy procedures, reducing nondiagnostic and false-negative biopsies,” Barman and colleagues conclude.

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