SERS Tags: The Next Promising Tool for Personalized Cancer Detection?

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47 Scopus citations


Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been historically considered a tool for physical scientists. Recently, however, a new avenue has opened for the application of SERS in the medical field, mainly spurred by the implementation of SERS tags. SERS tags are employed for the indirect identification of target molecules, similarly to what fluorescent dyes do, but with several intrinsic advantages. They have proven very useful in in vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro identification of cancerous cells and tissues, with targeting selectivity that can be tuned to recognize individual markers. It has also been demonstrated for the first time that surgical outcomes may be improved via the use of SERS tags, leading to complete tumor resection. Herein, I will explain how SERS tags can aid in the identification of cancerous tissues at the single cell level and how they promise to render SERS a powerful tool for personalized cancer detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Materials Chemistry


  • SERS tags
  • cancer
  • molecular imaging
  • plasmonic nanoparticles
  • surface-enhanced Raman scattering

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