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Microsc Res Tech. 2016 Jan;79(1):23-30. doi: 10.1002/jemt.22601. Epub 2015 Nov 13.

Synchrotron nanoscopy imaging study of scalp hair in breast cancer patients and healthy individuals: Difference in medulla loss and cortical membrane enhancements.

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Anatomy, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, 42472, Korea.
Hyogo Science and Technology Association, Shimodera-Cho 43, Himeji, Japan.
Biomedical Engineering and Radiology, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, 42472, Korea.
Pohang Accelerator Laboratory, Pohang, 37673, Korea.
Surgery, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, 42472, Korea.
Thoracic Surgery, Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University, Sungnam, 13620, Korea.


Nanoscopic synchrotron X-ray imaging was performed on scalp hair samples of patients with breast cancer and healthy individuals to investigate any structural differences as diagnostic tool. Hair strands were divided into 2-3 segments along the strands from root to tip, followed by imaging either in projection or in CT scanning with a monochromatic 6.78-keV X-ray using zone-plate optics with a resolving power of 60 nm. All the examined cancer hairs exhibited medulla loss with cancer stage-dependent pattern; complete loss, discontinuous or trace along the strands. In contrast, medullas were well retained without complete loss in the healthy hair. In the CT-scanned axial images, the cortical spindle compartments had no contrast in the healthy hair, but appeared hypointense in contrast to the surrounding hyperintense cortical membrane complex in the cancer hair. In conclusion, observation of medulla loss and cortical membrane enhancements in the hair strands of breast cancer patients demonstrated structural variations in the cancer hair, providing a new platform for further synchrotron X-ray imaging study of screening breast cancer patients.


cortical membrane enhancements; hair structure; medulla loss; nanotomography; synchrotron X-ray

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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