Objectives: Cytology and histology are 2 indispensable diagnostic tools for cancer diagnosis, which are rapidly increasing in importance with aging populations. We applied mass spectrometry (MS) as a rapid approach for swiftly acquiring nonmorphological information of interested cells. Conventional MS, which primarily rely on promoting ionization by pre-applying a matrix to cells, has the drawback of time-consuming both on data acquisition and analysis. As an emerging method, probe electrospray ionization-MS (PESI-MS) with a dedicated probe is capable to pierce sample and measure specimen in small amounts, either liquid or solid, without the requirement for sample pretreatment. Furthermore, PESI-MS is timesaving compared to the conventional MS. Herein, we investigated the capability of PESI-MS to characterize the cell types derived from the respiratory tract of human tissues. Study Design: PESI-MS analyses with DPiMS-2020 were performed on various type of cultured cells including 5 lung squamous cell carcinomas, 5 lung adenocarcinomas, 5 small-cell carcinomas, 4 malignant mesotheliomas, and 2 normal controls. Results: Several characteristic peaks were detected at around m/z 200 and 800 that were common in all samples. As expected, partial least squares-discriminant analysis of PESI-MS data distinguished the cancer cell types from normal control cells. Moreover, distinct clusters divided squamous cell carcinoma from adenocarcinoma. Conclusion: PESI-MS presented a promising potential as a novel diagnostic modality for swiftly acquiring specific cytological information.

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