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J Clin Laser Med Surg. 2001 Feb;19(1):35-9.

UV reflectance spectroscopy probes DNA and protein changes in human breast tissues.

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  • 1Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers, New York State Center for Advanced Technology for Ultrafast Photonic Materials and Applications, The City College and Graduate School of the City University of New York, New York 10031, USA.



The absorption spectrum obtained using diffuse reflectance measurements of malignant, fibroadenoma, and normal human breast tissues were studied. The spectral features in the spectrum were assigned to molecular components in the tissues.


Over the past decade, the methods of fluorescence, excitation, and Raman spectroscopy have been studied as potential noninvasive diagnostic tools. Useful spectroscopic information may be obtained from absorption spectra of tissues as well. However, direct measurement of absorption spectra of tissues by conventional transmission means is complicated by multiple photon scattering in tissues. Diffuse reflectance spectrum offers an indirect way to obtain absorption spectrum.


Excised malignant, fibroadenoma, and normal breast tissue samples without any treatment were obtained from pathology. Samples were placed in a quartz cuvette. The diffuse reflectance measurements between 250 nm to 650 nm were performed using an automated dual lamp spectrophotometer. The absorption spectra of breast tissues were obtained from the diffuse reflectance measurement.


Twenty-one invasive carcinoma, 20 mixed in situ and invasive carcinoma, 14 fibroadenoma, and 39 normal breast tissue samples were studied. The absorption spectra of breast tissues were obtained from diffuse reflectance spectra. Spectral features were assigned to DNA and proteins in human breast tissue. Amplitude of changes averaged over 275 nm to 285 nm and 255 nm to 265 nm and were found to be different for malignant, fibroadenoma, and normal breast tissues. These changes arise from differences in content of protein and DNA.


The peaks of absorption spectrum derived from diffuse reflectance measurements in the UV region revealed fingerprints from proteins and DNA components. The absorbance in the wavelength ranges of 275-285 nm and 255-265 nm were found to be different for malignant, fibroadenoma, and normal breast tissues. These differences provide a criterion to distinguish malignant from fibroadenoma and normal breast tissues.

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