Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) represents a quantitative, noninvasive, nondestructive means of assessing vascular oxygenation, vascularity, and structural properties. However, it is known that such measurements can be influenced by the effects of pressure, which is a major concern for reproducible and operator-independent assessment of tissues. Second, regular calibration is a necessary component of quantitative DRS to account for factors such as lamp decay and fiber bending. Without a means of reliably controlling for these factors, the accuracy of any such assessments will be reduced, and potentially biased. To address these issues, a self-calibrating, pressure-controlled DRS system is described and applied to both a patient-derived xenograft glioma model, as well as a set of healthy volunteers for assessments of oral mucosal tissues. It was shown that pressure had a significant effect on the derived optical parameters, and that the effects on the optical parameters were magnified with increasing time and pressure levels. These findings indicate that not only is it critical to integrate a pressure sensor into a DRS device, but that it is also important to do so in an automated way to trigger a measurement as soon as possible after probe contact is made to minimize the perturbation to the tissue site.