First-in-Class: Cervical cancer diagnosis based on a urine test with fluorescent cysteine probe

Jong Min An, Jungyo Suh, Jaehoon Kim, Youngwoong Kim, Joo Yeon Chung, Hee Seung Kim, Sung Yong Cho, Ja Hyeon Ku, Cheol Kwak, Hyeon Hoe Kim, Chang Wook Jeong, Dokyoung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In vitro diagnosis is key in diagnosing diseases and has recently become easily available. In vitro diagnostic techniques have been applied to various areas including the patient-tailored treatment development, disease progress tracking, and the cohort management. In this study, we developed the world's first in vitro cervical cancer diagnosis technology based on a urine test and verified its effectiveness with clinical urine samples of patients. In clinical practices, a Pap smear screening is used to detect cervical cancer, but it has limitations in its efficacy and from the uncomfortable sensation that women feel during the process. In this study, a new promising diagnostic method for cervical cancer was introduced using the molecular probe NPO-B, which selectively responds to cysteine (Cys) among amino acids in urine and exhibits fluorescence turn-on properties. The fluorescence signal of urine samples collected from about 1500 well characterized patients were analyzed and compared with the healthy control, and the results verified that cervical cancer could be diagnosed at a high true-positive ratio (74%). Our fluorescence-based cervical cancer diagnosis has advantages in terms that it only requires a simple fluorescence measuring device, a small amount of urine sample (200 μL), and a short diagnosis time (40 min). A noble way of spotting the cervical cancer with urine was introduced for the first time and is expected to be adopted to wider clinical practices including in vitro cervical cancer diagnosis or medical check-up requiring Cys sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131646
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarker
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cysteine
  • Fluorescent probe
  • Urine-based diagnosis


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