Interim Clinical Trial Analysis of Intraoperative Mass Spectrometry for Breast Cancer Surgery


Basu SS, Stopka SA, Abdelmoula WM, Randall EC, Gimenez-Cassina Lopez B, Regan MS, Calligaris D, Lu FF, Norton I, Mallory MA, et al. Interim Clinical Trial Analysis of Intraoperative Mass Spectrometry for Breast Cancer Surgery. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021;7 (1) :116. Copy at

Date Published:

2021 Sep 09


Optimal resection of breast tumors requires removing cancer with a rim of normal tissue while preserving uninvolved regions of the breast. Surgical and pathological techniques that permit rapid molecular characterization of tissue could facilitate such resections. Mass spectrometry (MS) is increasingly used in the research setting to detect and classify tumors and has the potential to detect cancer at surgical margins. Here, we describe the ex vivo intraoperative clinical application of MS using a liquid micro-junction surface sample probe (LMJ-SSP) to assess breast cancer margins. In a midpoint analysis of a registered clinical trial, surgical specimens from 21 women with treatment naïve invasive breast cancer were prospectively collected and analyzed at the time of surgery with subsequent histopathological determination. Normal and tumor breast specimens from the lumpectomy resected by the surgeon were smeared onto glass slides for rapid analysis. Lipidomic profiles were acquired from these specimens using LMJ-SSP MS in negative ionization mode within the operating suite and post-surgery analysis of the data revealed five candidate ions separating tumor from healthy tissue in this limited dataset. More data is required before considering the ions as candidate markers. Here, we present an application of ambient MS within the operating room to analyze breast cancer tissue and surgical margins. Lessons learned from these initial promising studies are being used to further evaluate the five candidate biomarkers and to further refine and optimize intraoperative MS as a tool for surgical guidance in breast cancer.

Last updated on 09/27/2021