Fluorescence imaging, in combination with tumor-avid near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent molecular probes, provides high specificity and sensitivity for cancer detection in preclinical animal models, and more recently, assistance during oncologic surgery. However, conventional camera-based fluorescence imaging techniques are heavily surface-weighted such that surface reflection from skin or other nontumor tissue and nonspecific fluorescence signals dominate, obscuring true cancer-specific signals and blurring tumor boundaries. To address this challenge, we applied structured illumination fluorescence molecular imaging (SIFMI) in live animals for automated subtraction of nonspecific surface signals to better delineate accumulation of an NIR fluorescent probe targeting α4β1 integrin in mice bearing subcutaneous plasma cell xenografts. SIFMI demonstrated a fivefold improvement in tumor-to-background contrast when compared with other full-field fluorescence imaging methods and required significantly reduced scanning time compared with diffuse optical spectroscopy imaging. Furthermore, the spatial gradient mapping enhanced highlighting of tumor boundaries. Through the relatively simple hardware and software modifications described, SIFMI can be integrated with clinical fluorescence imaging systems, enhancing intraoperative tumor boundary delineation from the uninvolved tissue.