Optical biopsy of lymph node morphology using optical coherence tomography

Wei Luo, Freddy T. Nguyen, Adam M. Zysk, Tyler S. Ralston, John Brockenbrough, Daniel L. Marks, Amy L. Oldenburg, Stephen A. Boppart. Technology Cancer Research Treatment 2005-10-01

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Optical diagnostic imaging techniques are increasingly being used in the clinical environment, allowing for improved screening and diagnosis while minimizing the number of invasive procedures. Diffuse optical tomography, for example, is capable of whole-breast imaging and is being developed as an alternative to traditional X-ray mammography. While this may eventually be a very effective screening method, other optical techniques are better suited for imaging on the cellular and molecular scale. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), for instance, is capable of high-resolution cross-sectional imaging of tissue morphology. In a manner analogous to ultrasound imaging except using optics, pulses of near-infrared light are sent into the tissue while coherence-gated reflections are measured interferometrically to form a cross-sectional image of tissue. In this paper we apply OCT techniques for the high-resolution three-dimensional visualization of lymph node morphology. We present the first reported OCT images showing detailed morphological structure and corresponding histological features of lymph nodes from a carcinogen-induced rat mammary tumor model, as well as from a human lymph node containing late stage metastatic disease. The results illustrate the potential for OCT to visualize detailed lymph node structures on the scale of micrometastases and the potential for the detection of metastatic nodal disease intraoperatively.
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