Polarized Raman microspectroscopy can provide precious information regarding the orientation and ordering of the molecules in a sample without staining or particular preparation. This technique is used for the first time on a human skin section to probe the molecular modifications of the surrounding dermis in superficial basal cell carcinoma. Spectra using polarized and conventional Raman microspectroscopies were recorded on dermis bordering either the tumor or healthy epidermis. Band areas and spectral decomposition on selected vibrations were computed. Significant differences in dermal collagen vibration bands are detected using both polarized and conventional micro-spectroscopies, but the spectral changes between tumor and healthy tissues are enhanced using polarized Raman microspectroscopy. The analysis of these spectral differences highlights structural modifications of the triple helix of collagen. We see polarized Raman microspectroscopy as a potential tool that could be implemented for clinical analyses to guide clinicians and surgeons in the treatment of aggressive skin cancers. The information obtainable could also help better elucidate the molecular mechanisms induced in basal cell carcinoma development.
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