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Optical Imaging Could Reduce Recall Surgery for Breast Cancer Patients

Jun 30, 2021   |   Physics World

Physics World reports on a team from Thayer School of Engineering and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which is investigating whether optical imaging could help those undergoing surgery for breast cancer. The findings are reported in Physics in Medicine & Biology.

"'We choose to investigate optical scatter imaging, because it is non-contact, provides rapid scanning and relies only on endogenous contrast in the tissue,' explains first author [and Dartmouth Engineering PhD candidate] Samuel Streeter. 'The fine patterns of light used by the technique probe only superficial layers of tissue, making the approach particularly well suited for analysing tissue margins.'

"Streeter and colleagues used wide field-of-view optical scatter imaging to assess 57 resected breast tumour slices, containing 13 distinct tissue subtypes, from 57 patients. The optical scatter method employed, known as spatial frequency domain imaging, illuminates the tissue with one-dimensional sinusoidal light patterns and images the reflected light intensity. It rapidly images the top layer of tissue with increased sensitivity to tumour-associated, collagen-rich matrix structures."

..."'This study focused on demonstrating the benefits of optical scatter imaging using tumour slices,' says Streeter. 'But to truly combine these modalities in a clinical tool, the optical scatter imaging should be mapped to the three-dimensional surface of the specimen and not just constrained to flat tissue surfaces.'

"As such, the team is now using established 3D optical imaging techniques to advance optical scatter imaging by mapping the reflectance to 3D structures. 'In so doing, we will be able to overlay optical scatter reflectance from intact specimen margins with the volumetric micro-CT scan,' Streeter tells Physics World. 'This multimodal solution could help clinicians identify suspicious margins rapidly – in the operating room – in order to avoid costly re-excision procedures.'"

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