OPTOACOUSTICS/OCT/ONCOLOGY: OCT, photoacoustics, and ultrasound combine for early stage ovarian cancer detection

Bringing together three imaging modalities—optical coherence tomography (OCT, for high-resolution subsurface imaging), photoacoustic imaging (for contrast), and ultrasound (for deep tissue penetration)—into a 5 mm diameter biophotonics device, researchers have been able to detect early-stage ovarian cancer in high-risk women. The scientists, from the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and the University of Southern California (Los Angeles), tested their device by imaging both pig and human tissue, and correctly identified malignant tumors that were later confirmed by staining and microscopic examination.

Co-registered images of malignant ovarian tissue obtained with the hybrid imaging device: OCT image (top left), ultrasound image (bottom left), superimposed photoacoustic and ultrasound image (top right), and corresponding histology (bottom right). Yellow diamond arrow: malignant tissue. (Images courtesy of University of Connecticut and Biomedical Optics Express)

Although the initial tests were performed on surgically excised tissue, the size of the device is promising for in-vivo imaging through a small incision. Output from the device could enable minimally invasive surgery, which could compete with preemptive removal of the ovaries (currently a standard practice) in terms of safety.

1. Y. Yang et al., Biomed. Opt. Exp. 2, 9 (2011).

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