The cervix is primarily composed of two types of epithelium: stratified squamous ectocervix and simple columnar endocervix. In between these two layers lies a metaplastic squamocolumnar junction commonly referred to as the transformation zone (T-zone). During puberty, the cervical epithelium undergoes dynamic changes including cervical ectropion and increased area and rates of metaplasia. Although these metaplastic changes have been linked to higher incidence of cervical cancer among young women, research in this field has been limited to surface analysis using computerized planimetry of colopophotographs.
Here, we present a novel multiplexed low coherence interferometry (mLCI) system for interrogating the cervical epithelium. The system is comprised of 6 parallel Mach-Zehnder interferometers in a time-multiplexed configuration that increases throughput by 6-fold to realize a combined 36-channel acquisition. A custom designed endoscopic handheld probe is used to collect sparsely sampled, depth-resolved scattering intensity profiles (A-scans) from a large field of view (25 x 25 mm) on the cervical epithelium in vivo. The instrument incorporates white light imaging through a plastic fiber bundle to co-register the mLCI A-scans to colpophotographs which are analyzed by a clinician to manually segment the cervical epithelium. Our preliminary data shows significant differences in characteristic A-scans from endocervical and ectocervical epithelium. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using mLCI as both a research tool for studying the relationship between cervical ectopy and cancer as well as a clinical instrument for identifying the at-risk T-zone on the cervix in vivo as a means to improve biopsy targeting. Further analysis will be performed to develop an algorithm for distinguishing the mLCI A-scans of endocervical, ectocervical, and metaplastic epithelium in real time.
Derek Ho, Kengyeh K. Chu, Michael Crose, Michael Desoto, Jennifer J. Peters, Amy P. Murtha, and Adam Wax, "Novel multiplexed low coherence interferometry endoscopic probe for analyzing the cervical epithelium in vivo (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10043, Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases in the Breast and Reproductive System, 1004304 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252607.5370007616001.
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