Inducing angiogenesis is one hallmark of cancer. Tumor induced neovasculature is often characterized as leaky, tortuous and chaotic, unlike a highly organized normal vasculature. Additionally, in the course of carcinogenesis, angiogenesis precedes a visible lesion. Tumor cannot grow beyond 1-2 mm in diameter without inducing angiogenesis. Therefore, capturing the event of angiogenesis may aid early detection of pre-cancer –important for better treatment prognoses in regions that lack the resources to manage invasive cancer.
In this study, we imaged the neovascularization in vivo in a spontaneous hamster cheek pouch carcinogen model using a, non-invasive, label-free, high resolution, reflected-light spectral darkfield microscope. Hamsters’ cheek pouches were painted with 7,12-Dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) to induce pre-cancerous to cancerous changes, or mineral oil as control. High resolution spectral darkfield images were obtained over the course of pre-cancer development and in control cheek pouches. The vasculature was segmented with a multi-scale Gabor filter with an 85% accuracy compared with manually traced masks. Highly tortuous vasculature was observed only in the DMBA treated cheek pouches as early as 6 weeks of treatment. In addition, the highly tortuous vessels could be identified before a visible lesion occurred later during the treatment. The vessel patterns as determined by the tortuosity index were significantly different from that of the control cheek pouch. This preliminary study suggests that high-resolution darkfield microscopy is promising tool for pre-cancer and early cancer detection in low resource settings.
Fangyao Hu, Robert Morhard, Heather Liu, Helen Murphy, Sina Farsiu, and Nimmi Ramanujam, "Label-free vascular imaging in a spontaneous hamster cheek pouch carcinogen model for pre-cancer detection
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9703, Optical Biopsy XIV: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis, 970313 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 17, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2213782.4848650683001.
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