Intra-operative assessment of margins is a vital challenge in surgical resection of tumours. Despite its importance, repeat surgeries are often required due to the discovery of positive margins via post-operative histopathology.

In the case of breast cancer, approximately 20% of patients require further surgery due to the subsequent discovery of positive margins. Furthermore, positive margins are also indicative of poorer outcomes in breast conserving surgery and are associated with a more than two-fold increase in breast tumour recurrence.

As a result, there is a clear and urgent need for an intra-operative technique to assess margin positivity and guide the surgeon as to whether sufficient tissue has been removed. Raman spectroscopy and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) have been proposed for this purpose and have also been used for other diagnostic applications (e.g. identification of bacteria for diagnosis of urine and blood infections, characterisation of cartilage for diagnosis of osteoarthritis, etc.).

Despite promising preliminary results in clinical diagnostics, Raman and SERS are yet to experience large scale clinical uptake. In this workshop, we will hear about the clinical need for improved intra-operative margin assessment and the current state of the art in Raman/SERS diagnostics (with a focus on applications in tumour margin identification). Short presentations from leading experts in the field will be followed by a panel discussion and live Q&A session. The workshop will focus on the progress made towards clinical deployment of Raman spectroscopy for tumour margin assessment (in addition to other relevant clinical applications) and the challenges that need to be addressed to facilitate further clinical translation.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of challenges associated with organ preserving cancer surgery
  • Understanding the scale of positive margins
  • Impact of positive margins on patient outcome and healthcare economy
  • Review of existing solutions to tackle positive margins and their limitations
  • Understanding of Raman spectroscopy and the opportunities it provides for clinical diagnostics
  • Knowledge of application of Raman spectroscopy to cancer diagnostics, particularly for tumour margin assessment
  • Knowledge of the challenges in translating Raman spectroscopy to the clinic


This workshop is worth 1 CPD point, please register to qualify for certification.


Dr Mads Bergholt

Dr Bergholt received his MSc. Degree in Engineering, Physics and Technology (optics) from the University…

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