Elemental Mapping of Human Malignant Mesothelioma Tissue Samples Using High-Speed LA−ICP−TOFMS Imaging
For the first time, researchers at the University of Vienna have applied the method of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-TOFMS) to the imaging of human tissue samples affected by malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a highly lethal asbestos-related cancer. Early diagnosis could help to increase the overall survival of MPM, but a technique to reliably determine asbestos counts and fiber types in tissue samples is lacking.
This study used a low-dispersion (i.e., fast-washout) laser ablation setup in combination with the TOFWERK icpTOF 2R which enabled fast multi-elemental imaging at the cellular level (i.e., 250 pixels per second at a pixel size of 2 µm). The method successfully allowed for the detection of asbestos fibers (based on the elements Si, Mg, Ca, Fe, and Sr) within the MPM tissue samples of patients, the visualization of the tissue structure with the endogenous elemental pattern, and the investigation of the metallome of MPM patients with different pathologies in a single analysis run.
The authors conclude that the method of LA-ICP-TOFMS may become an important clinical tool for simultaneous asbestos detection, metallome monitoring, and biomarker identification.