Clinical translation of a hand-held optical imager for breast cancer diagnostics: In vitro and in vivo tomography studies

Sarah J Erickson, Florida International University


Optical imaging is an emerging technology towards non-invasive breast cancer diagnostics. In recent years, portable and patient comfortable hand-held optical imagers are developed towards two-dimensional (2D) tumor detections. However, these imagers are not capable of three-dimensional (3D) tomography because they cannot register the positional information of the hand-held probe onto the imaged tissue. A hand-held optical imager has been developed in our Optical Imaging Laboratory with 3D tomography capabilities, as demonstrated from tissue phantom studies. The overall goal of my dissertation is towards the translation of our imager to the clinical setting for 3D tomographic imaging in human breast tissues. A systematic experimental approach was designed and executed as follows: (i) fast 2D imaging, (ii) coregistered imaging, and (iii) 3D tomographic imaging studies. (i) Fast 2D imaging was initially demonstrated in tissue phantoms (1% Liposyn solution) and in vitro (minced chicken breast and 1% Liposyn). A 0.45 cm3 fluorescent target at 1:0 contrast ratio was detectable up to 2.5 cm deep. Fast 2D imaging experiments performed in vivo with healthy female subjects also detected a 0.45 cm3 fluorescent target superficially placed ∼2.5 cm under the breast tissue. (ii) Coregistered imaging was automated and validated in phantoms with ∼0.19 cm error in the probe’s positional information. Coregistration also improved the target depth detection to 3.5 cm, from multi-location imaging approach. Coregistered imaging was further validated in-vivo , although the error in probe’s positional information increased to ∼0.9 cm (subject to soft tissue deformation and movement). (iii) Three-dimensional tomography studies were successfully demonstrated in vitro using 0.45 cm3 fluorescence targets. The feasibility of 3D tomography was demonstrated for the first time in breast tissues using the hand-held optical imager, wherein a 0.45 cm3 fluorescent target (superficially placed) was recovered along with artifacts. Diffuse optical imaging studies were performed in two breast cancer patients with invasive ductal carcinoma. The images showed greater absorption at the tumor cites (as observed from x-ray mammography, ultrasound, and/or MRI). In summary, my dissertation demonstrated the potential of a hand-held optical imager towards 2D breast tumor detection and 3D breast tomography, holding a promise for extensive clinical translational efforts.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering|Medical imaging

Recommended Citation

Erickson, Sarah J, "Clinical translation of a hand-held optical imager for breast cancer diagnostics: In vitro and in vivo tomography studies" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3472048.