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Unique spectral signature of human cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma by photoacoustic imaging

Jenny Hult, Ulf Dahlstrand, Aboma Merdasa, Karin Wickerström, Rehan Chakari, Bertil Persson, Magnus Cinthio, Tobias Erlöv, John Albinsson, Bodil Gesslein, Rafi Sheikh, Malin Malmsjö
Journal of Biophotonics2020
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is a common skin cancer with metastatic potential. To reduce reoperations due to nonradical excision, there is a need to develop a technique for identification of tumor margins preoperatively. Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is a novel imaging technology that combines the strengths of laser optics and ultrasound. Our aim was to determine the spectral signature of cSCC using PA imaging and to use this signature to visualize tumor architecture and borders. Two-dimensional PA images of 33 cSCCs and surrounding healthy skin were acquired ex vivo, using 59 excitation wavelengths from 680 to 970 nm. The spectral response of the cSCCs was compared to healthy tissue, and the difference was found to be greatest at wavelengths in the range 765 to 960 nm (P <.05). Three-dimensional PA images were constructed from spectra obtained in the y-z plane using a linear stepper motor moving along the x-plane. Spectral unmixing was then performed which provided a clear three-dimensional view of the distribution of tumor masses and their borders.
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