• Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy;
  • biliary tract cancer;
  • bile;
  • biomarkers;
  • support vector machine


This study aimed at determining whether FTIR spectroscopy is able to distinguish bile samples from patients with and without malignant biliary strictures. Bile samples were collected in 19 patients with malignant biliary strictures and 38 with benign biliary diseases during endoscopic procedures. FTIR spectra were acquired on dried drops of whole bile, aqueous and organic phases obtained after lipid extraction. Data were analyzed by principal component analysis and by the support vector machine classification using a leave-n-out cross validation procedure. This was applied to the whole set of spectra and the mean and median spectra of each patient. By leaving one patient out, the classifier allowed discriminating patients with and without malignant biliary strictures with a sensitivity between 82% and 95% and a specificity between 85% and 100%. Using a randomized leave-n -out cross-validation with n = 2, 5 and 10 patients, the sensitivity decreased slightly by about 5 to 10% while the specificity remained stable, suggesting the robustness of the classifier. FTIR spectroscopy combined with chemometrics therefore shows potential to differentiate bile from patients with and without malignant biliary strictures. Although promising, the results of this pilot study cannot be generalized and needs to be confirmed in a larger population. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)