(HealthDay News) – For patients undergoing tumor resection, the coupling of rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS) with electrosurgery, an approach known as the intelligent knife (iKnife), has been validated as an intraoperative approach to accurately identify tissue, according to a study published in the July 17 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Júlia Balog, from MediMass Ltd. in Budapest, Hungary, and colleagues validated the iKnife approach for tissue diagnostics. The technique, which allows near-real-time characterization of human tissue by analysis of the aerosol released during electrosurgical dissection, was applied to tissue samples from 302 patients, resulting in a database comprising 1,624 cancerous and 1,309 non-cancerous entries. During 81 resections, the device was coupled to existing electrosurgical equipment and was used to collect data in the operating theater.

The researchers found that the REIMS approach accurately distinguished between discrete histological and histopathological tissue types. Chemical characteristics that were specific to their histopathological subtypes were identified in malignant tissues. In all cases studied, tissue identification via intraoperative REIMS matched the postoperative histologic diagnosis. Lipidomic profiles were reflected in the mass spectra that varied between distinct histological tumor types, and between primary and metastatic tumors.

“Thus, in addition to real-time diagnostic information, the spectra provided additional information on divergent tumor biochemistry that may have mechanistic importance in cancer,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to MediMass, which was funded to develop and market the iKnife.

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