Discrimination of healthy and cancer cells of the bladder by metabolic state, based on autofluorescence

S. Palmer, K. Litvinova, E. U. Rafailov, G. Nabi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Bladder cancer is among the most common cancers worldwide (4th in men). It is responsible for high patient morbidity and displays rapid recurrence and progression. Lack of sensitivity of gold standard techniques (white light cystoscopy, voided urine cytology) means many early treatable cases are missed. The result is a large number of advanced cases of bladder cancer which require extensive treatment and monitoring. For this reason, bladder cancer is the single most expensive cancer to treat on a per patient basis. In recent years, autofluorescence spectroscopy has begun to shed light into disease research. Of particular interest in cancer research are the fluorescent metabolic cofactors NADH and FAD. Early in tumour development, cancer cells often undergo a metabolic shift (the Warburg effect) resulting in increased NADH. The ratio of NADH to FAD ("redox ratio") can therefore be used as an indicator of the metabolic status of cells. Redox ratio measurements have been used to differentiate between healthy and cancer breast cells and to monitor cellular responses to therapies. Here, we have demonstrated, using healthy and bladder cancer cell lines, a statistically significant difference in the redox ratio of bladder cancer cells, indicative of a metabolic shift. To do this we customised a standard flow cytometer to excite and record fluorescence specifically from NADH and FAD, along with a method for automatically calculating the redox ratio of individual cells within large populations. These results could inform the design of novel probes and screening systems for the early detection of bladder cancer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XI
    EditorsBernard Choi, Nikiforos Kollias, Haishan Zeng, Hyun Wook Kang, Brian J. F. Wong, Justus F. Ilgner, Alfred Nuttal, Claus-Peter Richter, Melissa C. Skala, Mark W. Dewhirst, Guillermo J. Tearney, Kenton W. Gregory, Laura Marcu, Andreas Mandelis
    Place of PublicationBellingham
    PublisherSPIE-International Society for Optical Engineering
    ISBN (Print)9781628413939
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventSPIE Photonics West 2014: Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XI - The Moscone Center, San Francisco, United States
    Duration: 7 Feb 20158 Feb 2015

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of SPIE
    NameProgress In Biomedical Optics And Imaging


    ConferenceSPIE Photonics West 2014: Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XI
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Francisco
    Internet address


    • Autofluorescence
    • Bladder cancer
    • Cytometry
    • Metabolism
    • Redox ratio

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Biomaterials
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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