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Formalin fixation as tissue preprocessing for multimodal optical spectroscopy using the example of human brain tumour cross sections

  • Characterization of brain tumours requires neuropathological expertise and is generally performed by histological evaluation and molecular analysis. One emerging technique to assist pathologists in future tumour diagnostics is multimodal optical spectroscopy. In the current clinical routine, tissue preprocessing with formalin is widely established and suitable for spectroscopic investigations since degradation processes impede the measurement of native tissue. However, formalin fixation results in alterations of the tissue chemistry and morphology for example by protein cross-linking. As optical spectroscopy is sensitive to these variations, we evaluate the effects of formalin fixation on multimodal brain tumour data in this proof-of-concept study. Nonfixed and formalin-fixed cross sections of different common human brain tumours were subjected to analysis of chemical variations using ultraviolet and Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy. Morphological changes were assessed by elastic light scattering microspectroscopy in the visible wavelength range. Data were analysed with multivariate data analysis and compared with histopathology. Tissue type classifications deduced by optical spectroscopy are highly comparable and independent from the preparation and the fixation protocol. However, formalin fixation leads to slightly better classification models due to improved stability of the tissue. As a consequence, spectroscopic methods represent an appropriate additional contrast for chemical and morphological information in neuropathological diagnosis and should be investigated to a greater extent. Furthermore, they can be included in the clinical workflow even after formalin fixation.

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Author of HS ReutlingenStefanakis, Mona; Lorenz, Anita; Bassler, Miriam; Wagner, Alexandra; Brecht, Marc; Boldrini, Barbara; Rebner, Karsten; Ostertag, Edwin
Erschienen in:Journal of spectroscopy
Place of publication:New York
Document Type:Journal article
Publication year:2021
Page Number:14
First Page:1
Last Page:14
Article Number:5598309
DDC classes:530 Physik
Open access?:Ja
Licence (German):License Logo  Creative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International