Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Oncol. May 15, 2016; 8(5): 427-438
Published online May 15, 2016. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v8.i5.427
Role of Raman spectroscopy and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy in colorectal cancer
Cerys A Jenkins, Paul D Lewis, Peter R Dunstan, Dean A Harris
Cerys A Jenkins, Paul D Lewis, Dean A Harris, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom
Peter R Dunstan, Department of Physics, College of Science, Center for Nanohealth, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom
Dean A Harris, Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singleton Hospital, Swansea SA2 8QA, United Kingdom
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the writing and proof reading of this paper.
Supported by Cancer Research Wales, No. 248767.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors report no conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Dean A Harris, MD, FRCS, MB, ChB, Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singleton Hospital, Sketty Lane, Swansea SA2 8QA, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44-1792-285459
Received: June 27, 2015
Peer-review started: June 30, 2015
First decision: November 6, 2015
Revised: November 24, 2015
Accepted: March 7, 2016
Article in press: March 9, 2016
Published online: May 15, 2016

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer in the United Kingdom and is the second largest cause of cancer related death in the United Kingdom after lung cancer. Currently in the United Kingdom there is not a diagnostic test that has sufficient differentiation between patients with cancer and those without cancer so the current referral system relies on symptomatic presentation in a primary care setting. Raman spectroscopy and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) are forms of vibrational spectroscopy that offer a non-destructive method to gain molecular information about biological samples. The techniques offer a wide range of applications from in vivo or in vitro diagnostics using endoscopic probes, to the use of micro-spectrometers for analysis of biofluids. The techniques have the potential to detect molecular changes prior to any morphological changes occurring in the tissue and therefore could offer many possibilities to aid the detection of CRC. The purpose of this review is to look at the current state of diagnostic technology in the United Kingdom. The development of Raman spectroscopy and SERS in clinical applications relation for CRC will then be discussed. Finally, future areas of research of Raman/SERS as a clinical tool for the diagnosis of CRC are also discussed.

Keywords: Detection, Colorectal cancer, Spectroscopy, Raman, Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Core tip: This review focuses of the current role of Raman spectroscopy and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in clinical applications of colorectal cancer. This includes a review of the current research into in vivo endoscopic Raman probes, non-destructive analysis of biofluids and the use of SERS in order to detect low concentration analytes that previously could not be detected with Raman spectroscopy. Both the advantages and disadvantages of the technology are discussed along with possible avenues of future research.