The optical redox ratio as a measure of cellular metabolism is determined by an altered ratio between endogenous fluorophores NADH and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Although reported for other cancer sites, differences in optical redox ratio between cancerous and normal urothelial cells have not previously been reported. Here, we report a method for the detection of cellular metabolic states using flow cytometry based on autofluorescence, and a statistically significant increase in the redox ratio of bladder cancer cells compared to healthy controls. Urinary bladder cancer and normal healthy urothelial cell lines were cultured and redox overview was assessed using flow cytometry. Further localisation of fluorescence in the same cells was carried out using confocal microscopy. Multiple experiments show correlation between cell type and redox ratio, clearly differentiating between healthy cells and cancer cells. Based on our preliminary results, therefore, we believe that this data contributes to current understanding of bladder tissue fluorescence and can inform the design of endoscopic probes. This approach also has significant potential as a diagnostic tool for discrimination of cancer cells among shed urothelial cells in voided urine, and could lay the groundwork for an automated system for population screening for bladder cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding: EU FP7 project ABLADE (Advanced Bladder Cancer Diagnosis
and Therapy), with further contribution from NHS and EPSRC.