Biomechanical properties of tissues have been utilized for disease detection, diagnosis, and progression, however they have not been extensively utilized for therapy dosimetry.
Magnetic hyperthermia aims to kill cells and ablate tumors using magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) either injected in or targeted to tumors. Upon application of an appropriate AC magnetic field, MNPs can heat target tissue while sparing non-targeted healthy tissue. However, a sensitive monitoring technique for the dose of magnetic hyperthermia is needed to prevent over-treatment and collateral injury.
During hyperthermia treatments, the viscoelastic properties of tissues are altered due to protein denaturation, coagulation, and tissue dehydration, making these properties candidates for dosimetry. Magnetomotive optical coherence elastography (MM-OCE) utilizes MNPs as internal force transducers to probe the biomechanical properties of tissues. Therefore, we aim to evaluate the hyperthermia dose based on the elastic changes revealed by MM-OCE.
In this study, MNPs embedded in tissues were utilized for both hyperthermia and MM-OCE measurements. Tissue temperature and elastic modulus were obtained, where the elastic modulus was extracted from the resonance frequency detected by MM-OCE. Results showed a correlation between stiffness and temperature change following treatment. To investigate the thermal-dose-dependent changes, intervals of hyperthermia treatment were repeatedly performed on the same tissue sequentially, interspersed with MM-OCE. With increasing times of treatment, tissue stiffness increased, while temperature rise remained relatively constant. These results suggest that MM-OCE may potentially identify reversible and irreversible tissue changes during thermal therapy, supporting the use of MM-OCE for dosimetric control of hyperthermia in future applications.