Probing intracellular mass density fluctuation through confocal microscopy: application in cancer diagnostics as a case study

Research paper by Peeyush Sahay, Aditya Ganju, Hemendra M. Ghimire, Huda Almabadi, Murali M. Yallappu, Omar Skalli, Meena Jaggi, Subhash C. Chauhan, Prabhakar Pradhan

Indexed on: 28 Dec '15Published on: 28 Dec '15Published in: Physics - Biological Physics


Intracellular structural alterations are hallmark of several disease conditions and treatment modalities. However, robust methods to quantify these changes are scarce. In view of this, we introduce a new method to quantify structural alterations in biological cells through the widely used confocal microscopy. This novel method employs optical eigenfunctions localization properties of cells and quantifies the degree of structural alterations, in terms of nano- to micron scale intracellular mass density fluctuations, in one single parameter. Such approach allows a powerful way to compare changing structures in heterogeneous cellular media irrespective of the origin of the cause. As a case study, we demonstrate its applicability in cancer detection with breast and prostate cancer cases of different tumorigenicity levels. Adding new dimensions to the confocal based studies, this technique has potentially significant applications in areas ranging from disease diagnostics to therapeutic studies, such as patient prognosis and assessing survival potential.