The advent of molecularly targeted therapies requires effective identification of the various cell types of non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC). Currently, cell type diagnosis is performed using small biopsies or cytology specimens that are often insufficient for molecular testing after morphologic analysis. Thus, the ability to rapidly recognize different cancer cell types, with minimal tissue consumption, would accelerate diagnosis and preserve tissue samples for subsequent molecular testing in targeted therapy. We report a label-free molecular vibrational imaging framework enabling three-dimensional (3-D) image acquisition and quantitative analysis of cellular structures for identification of NSCLC cell types. This diagnostic imaging system employs superpixel-based 3-D nuclear segmentation for extracting such disease-related features as nuclear shape, volume, and cell-cell distance. These features are used to characterize cancer cell types using machine learning. Using fresh unstained tissue samples derived from cell lines grown in a mouse model, the platform showed greater than 97% accuracy for diagnosis of NSCLC cell types within a few minutes. As an adjunct to subsequent histology tests, our novel system would allow fast delineation of cancer cell types with minimum tissue consumption, potentially facilitating on-the-spot diagnosis, while preserving specimens for additional tests. Furthermore, 3-D measurements of cellular structure permit evaluation closer to the native state of cells, creating an alternative to traditional 2-D histology specimen evaluation, potentially increasing accuracy in diagnosing cell type of lung carcinomas.
We report the development and application of a knowledge-based coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy system for label-free imaging, pattern recognition, and classification of cells and tissue structures for differentiating lung cancer from non-neoplastic lung tissues and identifying lung cancer subtypes. A total of 1014 CARS images were acquired from 92 fresh frozen lung tissue samples. The established pathological workup and diagnostic cellular were used as prior knowledge for establishment of a knowledge-based CARS system using a machine learning approach. This system functions to separate normal, non-neoplastic, and subtypes of lung cancer tissues based on extracted quantitative features describing fibrils and cell morphology. The knowledge-based CARS system showed the ability to distinguish lung cancer from normal and non-neoplastic lung tissue with 91% sensitivity and 92% specificity. Small cell carcinomas were distinguished from nonsmall cell carcinomas with 100% sensitivity and specificity. As an adjunct to submitting tissue samples to routine pathology, our novel system recognizes the patterns of fibril and cell morphology, enabling medical practitioners to perform differential diagnosis of lung lesions in mere minutes. The demonstration of the strategy is also a necessary step toward in vivo point-of-care diagnosis of precancerous and cancerous lung lesions with a fiber-based CARS microendoscope.