Surface-enhanced Resonance Raman Scattering Nanoprobe Ratiometry for Detecting Microscopic Ovarian Cancer via Folate Receptor Targeting
Kircher, Moritz F.
SourceJoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments)
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Ovarian cancer represents the deadliest gynecologic malignancy. Most patients present at an advanced stage (FIGO stage III or IV), when local metastatic spread has already occurred. However, ovarian cancer has a unique pattern of metastatic spread, in that tumor implants are initially contained within the peritoneal cavity. This feature could enable, in principle, the complete resection of tumor implants with curative intent. Many of these metastatic lesions are microscopic, making them hard to identify and treat. Neutralizing such micrometastases is believed to be a major goal towards eliminating tumor recurrence and achieving long-term survival. Raman imaging with surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering nanoprobes can be used to delineate microscopic tumors with high sensitivity, due to their bright and bioorthogonal spectral signatures. Here, we describe the synthesis of two 'flavors' of such nanoprobes: an antibody-functionalized one that targets the folate receptor — overexpressed in many ovarian cancers — and a non-targeted control nanoprobe, with distinct spectra. The nanoprobes are co-administered intraperitoneally to mouse models of metastatic human ovarian adenocarcinoma. All animal studies were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The peritoneal cavity of the animals is surgically exposed, washed, and scanned with a Raman microphotospectrometer. Subsequently, the Raman signatures of the two nanoprobes are decoupled using a Classical Least Squares fitting algorithm, and their respective scores divided to provide a ratiometric signal of folate-targeted over untargeted probes. In this way, microscopic metastases are visualized with high specificity. The main benefit of this approach is that the local application into the peritoneal cavity — which can be done conveniently during the surgical procedure — can tag tumors without subjecting the patient to systemic nanoparticle exposure. False positive signals stemming from non-specific binding of the nanoprobes onto visceral surfaces can be eliminated by following a ratiometric approach where targeted and non-targeted nanoprobes with distinct Raman signatures are applied as a mixture. The procedure is currently still limited by the lack of a commercial wide-field Raman imaging camera system, which once available will allow for the application of this technique in the operating theater.