Using Second Harmonic Generation to Predict Metastasis

October 23, 2014

Dr. Edward Brown (BME) has received a $140k grant from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program for his project entitled “Prediction of Metastasis Using Second Harmonic Generation.” The goal of this one year project is to expand upon a recent finding from Dr. Brown’s laboratory that an optical scattering phenomenon called second harmonic generation (SHG), when applied to breast cancer biopsy specimens, can help predict metastatic outcome in 10-year patient follow-up data.

This has significant clinical implications because current data suggests that about half of patients that are systemically treated after their tumor is removed would not have experienced a metastasis, did not need to suffer the toxic effects of systemic therapy, and therefore were “overtreated”. Hence there is a pressing need to predict who will, and will not, experience metastasis, to minimize overtreatment. The current work, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Peter Salzman (Biostatistics), Dr. Ping Tang (Pathology), and Dr. Kristin Skinner (Surgery), will validate their recent findings in a second patient cohort and determine the most powerful predictive formula incorporating SHG signatures as well as other clinical data.