Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. There is great interest in
studying the relationship among microstructures and molecular processes of colorectal cancer during its progression at
early stages. In this study, we use our multi-modality optical system that could obtain co-registered optical coherence
tomography (OCT) and fluorescence molecular imaging (FMI) images simultaneously to study CRC. The overexpressed
carbohydrate α-L-fucose on the surfaces of polyps facilitates the bond of adenomatous polyps with UEA-1
and is used as biomarker. Tissue scattering coefficient derived from OCT axial scan is used as quantitative value of
structural information. Both structural images from OCT and molecular images show spatial heterogeneity of tumors.
Correlations between those values are analyzed and demonstrate that scattering coefficients are positively correlated
with FMI signals in conjugated. In UEA-1 conjugated samples (8 polyps and 8 control regions), the correlation
coefficient is ranged from 0.45 to 0.99. These findings indicate that the microstructure of polyps is changed gradually
during cancer progression and the change is well correlated with certain molecular process. Our study demonstrated that
multi-parametric imaging is able to simultaneously detect morphology and molecular information and it can enable
spatially and temporally correlated studies of structure-function relationships during tumor progression.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. Specificity in diagnostic imaging
for detecting colorectal adenomas, which have a propensity towards malignancy, is desired. Adenomatous polyp specimens of the colon were obtained from the mouse model of colorectal cancer called adenomatous polyposis coli-multiple intestinal neoplasia (APC<sup>Min</sup>). Histological evaluation, by the legume protein <i>Ulex</i> europaeus agglutinin I (UEA-1), determined expression of the glycoprotein α-L-fucose. FITC-labelled UEA-1 confirmed overexpression of the glycoprotein by the polyps on fluorescence microscopy in 17/17 cases, of which 13/17 included paraffin-fixed mouse polyp specimens. In addition, FITC-UEA-1 <i>ex vivo</i> multispectral optical imaging of 4/17 colonic specimens displayed over-expression of the glycoprotein by the polyps, as compared to non-neoplastic mucosa. Here, we report the surface expression of α-L-fucosyl terminal residues by neoplastic mucosal cells of APC specimens of the mouse. Glycoprotein expression was validated by the carbohydrate binding protein UEA-1. Future applications of this method are the development of agents used to diagnose cancers by biomedical imaging modalities, including computed tomographic colonography (CTC). UEA-1 targeting to colonic adenomas may provide a new avenue for the diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma by CT imaging.