During the past decades, prostate cancer (PCa), with an annual incident rate much higher than any other cancer, is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men. PCa has a relatively low progression rate yet the survival percentage decreases dramatically once the cancer has metastasized. Identifying aggressive from indolent PCa to prevent metastasis and death is critical to improving outcomes for patients with PCa. Standard procedure for assessing the aggressiveness of PCa involves the removal of tumor tissues by transrectal (TR) ultrasound (US) guided needle biopsy. The microscopic architecture of the biopsied tissue is visualized by histological or immunohistochemical staining procedures. The heterogeneity of the microscopic architecture is characterized by a Gleason score, a quantitative description of the aggressiveness of PCa. Due to the inability to identify the cancer cells, most noninvasive imaging modalities can only provide diagnosis of PCa at limited accuracy. This study investigates the feasibility of identifying PCa tumors and characterizing the aggressiveness of PCa by photoacoustic imaging assisted by cancer targeting polyacrylamide (PAA) nanoparticles (NPs). PAA is a biocompatible material used in clinics for the past 20 years. PAA NPs can protect capsulated optical contrast agents from interference by enzymes and enable prolonged systematic circulation in the living biological environment. The cancer targeting mechanism is achieved by conjugating the NPs to F3 peptides, which trace nucleolin overexpressed on the surface of cancer cells. Preliminary studies have shown that the NPs are capable of staining the PCa cells in vivo.
Guan Xu, Ming Qin, Ananya Mukundan, Javed Siddiqui, Marilia Takada, Paulo Vilar-Saavedra, Scott A. Tomlins, Raoul Kopelman, and Xueding Wang, "Prostate cancer characterization by optical contrast enhanced photoacoustics," Proc. SPIE 9708, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2016, 97080I (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 15 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2213064.
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