Tissue classification by rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS): comparison between a diathermic knife and CO2 laser sampling on classification performance

Michele Genangeli, Ron M. A. Heeren, Tiffany Porta Siegel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The increasing need for rapid, in situ, and robust tissue profiling approaches in the context of intraoperative diagnostics has led to the development of a large number of ambient ionization-based surface sampling strategies. This paper compares the performances of a diathermic knife and a CO2 laser handpiece, both clinically approved, coupled to a rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS) source for quasi-instantaneous tissue classification. Several fresh meat samples (muscle, liver, bone, bone marrow, cartilage, skin, fat) were obtained from different animals. Overall, the laser produced cleaner cuts and more reproducible and higher spectral quality signals when compared with the diathermic knife (CV laser = 9-12%, CV diathermic = 14-23%). The molecular profiles were subsequently entered into a database and PCA/LDA classification/prediction models were built to assess if the data generated with one sampling modality can be employed to classify the data generated with the other handpiece. We demonstrate that the correct classification rate of the models increases (+ 25%) with the introduction of a model based on peak lists that are tissue-specific and common to the two handpieces, compared with considering solely the whole molecular profile. This renders it possible to use a unique and universal database for quasi-instantaneous tissue recognition which would provide similar classification results independent of the handpiece used. Furthermore, the laser was able to generate aerosols rich in lipids from hard tissues such as bone, bone marrow, and cartilage. Combined, these results demonstrate that REIMS is a valuable and versatile tool for instantaneous identification/classification of hard tissue and coupling to different aerosol-generating handpieces expands its field of application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7943-7955
Number of pages13
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number30
Early online date11 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Bioanalytical methods
  • Laser ablation
  • Tissue analysis
  • Lipids
  • Mass spectrometry
  • HEAD
  • NECK

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