Transformation in chromatin organization is one of the most universal markers of carcinogenesis. Microscale chromatin alterations have been a staple of histopathological diagnosis of neoplasia, and nanoscale alterations have emerged as a promising marker for cancer prognostication and the detection of predysplastic changes. While numerous methods have been developed to detect these alterations, most methods for sample preparation remain largely validated via conventional microscopy and have not been examined with nanoscale sensitive imaging techniques. For these nanoscale sensitive techniques to become standard of care screening tools, new histological protocols must be developed that preserve nanoscale information. Partial Wave Spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy has recently emerged as a novel imaging technique sensitive to length scales ranging between 20 and 200 nanometers. As a label-free, high-throughput, and non-invasive imaging technique, PWS microscopy is an ideal tool to quantify structural information during sample preparation. Therefore, in this work we applied PWS microscopy to systematically evaluate the effects of cytological preparation on the nanoscales changes of chromatin using two live cell models: a drug-based model of Hela cells differentially treated with daunorubicin and a cell line comparison model of two cells lines with inherently distinct chromatin organizations. Notably, we show that existing cytological preparation can be modified in order to maintain clinically relevant nanoscopic differences, paving the way for the emerging field of nanopathology.
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