Investigation of optical coherence microelastography as a method to visualize cancers in human breast tissue

Brendan F. Kennedy*, Robert A. McLaughlin, Kelsey M. Kennedy, Lixin Chin, Philip Wijesinghe, Andrea Curatolo, Alan Tien, Maxine Ronald, Bruce Latham, Christobel M. Saunders, David D. Sampson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


An accurate intraoperative identification of malignant tissue is a challenge in the surgical management of breast cancer. Imaging techniques that help address this challenge could contribute to more complete and accurate tumor excision, and thereby help reduce the current high reexcision rates without resorting to the removal of excess healthy tissue. Optical coherence microelastography (OCME) is a three-dimensional, high-resolution imaging technique that is sensitive to microscale variations of the mechanical properties of tissue. As the tumor modifies the mechanical properties of breast tissue, OCME has the potential to identify, on the microscale, involved regions of fresh, unstained tissue. OCME is based on the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure tissue deformation in response to applied mechanical compression. In this feasibility study on 58 ex vivo samples from patients undergoing mastectomy or wide local excision, we demonstrate the performance of OCME as a means to visualize tissue microarchitecture in benign and malignant human breast tissues. Through a comparison with corresponding histology and OCT images, OCME is shown to enable ready visualization of features such as ducts, lobules, microcysts, blood vessels, and arterioles and to identify invasive tumor through distinctive patterns in OCME images, often with enhanced contrast compared with OCT. These results lay the foundation for future intraoperative studies. Cancer Res; 75(16); 3236-45.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3236-3245
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015


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