Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and mainly affects younger women. The mortality associated with cervical cancer can be reduced if the disease is detected at the pre-cancer stage. Current best-practice methods include cytopathology, HPV testing, and histopathology, but these methods are limited in terms of subjectivity, cost, and time. There is an unmet clinical need for new methods to aid clinicians in the early detection of cervical pre-cancer. These methods should be objective and rapid and require minimal sample preparation. Raman spectroscopy is a vibrational spectroscopic technique by which incident radiation is used to induce vibrations in the molecules of a sample and the scattered radiation may be used to characterise the sample in a rapid and non-destructive manner. Raman spectroscopy is sensitive to subtle biochemical changes occurring at the molecular level, enabling spectral variations corresponding to disease onset to be detected. Over the past 15 years, there have been numerous reports revealing the potential of Raman spectroscopy together with multivariate statistical analysis for the detection of a variety of cancers. This paper discusses the recent advances and challenges for cervical-cancer screening and diagnosis and offers some perspectives for the future.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN); Cytopathology; High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL); Histopathology; Human papilloma virus (HPV); Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL); Raman spectroscopy.