Flow Cytometry is an analytical tool for precisely measuring cellular phenotypic. Intraoperative Flow Cytometry (iFC) analyzes DNA content/ploidy and cell cycle distribution during surgery for cancer cell characterization and tumor margin assessment. iFC has been used to examine tumors of several sorts, including intracranial, head and neck, breast, and liver cancers. For a study, researchers described an intraoperative Flow Cytometry procedure for detecting colorectal cancer cells and evaluating probable resection margins.

The study included 106 colorectal cancer patients who had samples from cancer and normal colon epithelium obtained intraoperatively and compared using iFC. The patients’ demographics, tumor data, and cytometry characteristics were all evaluated. 

They found that a tumor-index cut-off value of 10.5% (fraction of cells in S and G2/M cell cycle stages) predicts the existence of cancer cells with ∼91%  accuracy (82.2% sensitivity and 99.9% specificity). In addition, the accuracy of iFC in assessing tumor margins in rectal cancer patients with or without neoadjuvant treatment was 79% and 88%, respectively.

The findings supported the notion that, in the case of colorectal cancer, iFC was a suitable supplementary tool for tumor cell identification and, most likely, margin evaluation that might be used in rectal cancer therapy in the era of organ sparing methods.

Reference: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743919122004940