Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 214–221 | Cite as

A novel method for screening colorectal cancer by infrared spectroscopy of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma

  • Eyal Barlev
  • Udi Zelig
  • Omri Bar
  • Cheli Segev
  • Shaul Mordechai
  • Joseph Kapelushnik
  • Ilana Nathan
  • Felix Flomen
  • Hanoch Kashtan
  • Ram Dickman
  • Osnat Madhala-Givon
  • Nir Wasserberg
Original Article—Alimentary Tract



Early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) can reduce mortality and morbidity. Current screening methods include colonoscopy and stool tests, but a simple low-cost blood test would increase compliance. This preliminary study assessed the utility of analyzing the entire bio-molecular profile of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and plasma using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy for early detection of CRC.


Blood samples were prospectively collected from 62 candidates for CRC screening/diagnostic colonoscopy or surgery for colonic neoplasia. PBMCs and plasma were separated by Ficoll gradient, dried on zinc selenide slides, and placed under a FTIR microscope. FTIR spectra were analyzed for biomarkers and classified by principal component and discriminant analyses. Findings were compared among diagnostic groups.


Significant changes in multiple bands that can serve as CRC biomarkers were observed in PBMCs (p = ~0.01) and plasma (p = ~0.0001) spectra. There were minor but statistically significant differences in both blood components between healthy individuals and patients with benign polyps. Following multivariate analysis, the healthy individuals could be well distinguished from patients with CRC, and the patients with benign polyps were mostly distributed as a distinct subgroup within the overlap region. Leave-one-out cross-validation for evaluating method performance yielded an area under the receiver operating characteristics curve of 0.77, with sensitivity 81.5 % and specificity 71.4 %.


Joint analysis of the biochemical profile of two blood components rather than a single biomarker is a promising strategy for early detection of CRC. Additional studies are required to validate our preliminary clinical results.


Colorectal cancer Infrared spectroscopy Peripheral blood mononuclear cells Plasma Cancer detection 



Area under the curve


Cancer antigen


Carcinoembryonic antigen


Colorectal cancer


Fisher linear discriminant analysis


Fourier transform infrared


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells


Principal component analysis


Quadratic discriminant analysis


Receiver operating characteristics



We thank Ela Ostrovsky who participated in spectral data analysis. This work was funded in part by Todos Medical Ltd. and the Chief Scientist Office, Israel.

Conflict of interest

Dr. Udi Zelig, Omri Bar and Cheli Segev are employees at Todos Medical Ltd. Prof. Joseph Kapelushnik, Prof. Shaul Mordechai and Prof. Ilana Nathan serves as consultants to Todos Medical Ltd.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eyal Barlev
    • 1
    • 2
  • Udi Zelig
    • 3
  • Omri Bar
    • 3
  • Cheli Segev
    • 3
  • Shaul Mordechai
    • 4
  • Joseph Kapelushnik
    • 5
    • 6
  • Ilana Nathan
    • 7
    • 8
  • Felix Flomen
    • 3
  • Hanoch Kashtan
    • 9
  • Ram Dickman
    • 2
    • 10
  • Osnat Madhala-Givon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nir Wasserberg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Surgery BRabin Medical CenterPetach TikvaIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Todos Medical LtdRehovotIsrael
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  5. 5.Pediatric Hemato-Oncology UnitSoroka University Medical CenterBeer-ShevaIsrael
  6. 6.Faculty of MedicineBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  7. 7.Department of Clinical BiochemistryBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  8. 8.Institute of HematologySoroka University Medical CenterBeer-ShevaIsrael
  9. 9.Division of General SurgeryRabin Medical CenterPetach TikvaIsrael
  10. 10.Department of GastroenterologyRabin Medical CenterPetach TikvaIsrael

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