Liver Metastasis Detection and Monitoring using Multispectral Photoacoustic Imaging

This recent article by Lavaud et al. uses high-frequency ultrasound and spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging (PAI), along with commercially available contrast agents to non-invasively examine metastatic liver lesions.

Article Summary:

  • A mouse model of liver metastasis originating from colon cancer was used for the study.
  • PAI and fluorescence (fDOT) imaging, along with commercially available dyes, AngiostampTM800 and ICG were used to monitor liver metastasis development.
  • Contrast agent-free PAI showed overall increase in liver HbT signal relating to tumor angiogenesis, and contrasting decrease in oxygen saturation (sO2) reflecting hypoxia development during metastasis.
  • Multispectral imaging of ICG showed a decrease in signal during metastasis development, correlating with liver function decrease.
  • ICG imaging along was unable to differentiate between liver metastasis stages.
  • PA imaging of tumor targeting AngiostampTM800 allowed differentiation between healthy, early and advanced stages of liver metastasis.
  • PAI provided higher significance in the metastatic stages discrimination than fDOT.
  • Fluorescence imaging, although more sensitive, provides limited depth information and do not allow tissue differentiation, which are both achievable with PA.



Angiostamp800 was introduced for the first time as a new commercially available PA contrast agent with tumor targeting specificity. It allowed for non-invasive photoacoustic and florescence detection of liver metastases, and showed discernible signal changes between early and advance stages of the disease. This presents a potential tool for cancer development and therapeutic monitoring.

  1. Lavaud, J. et al. Noninvasive monitoring of liver metastasis development via combined multispectral photoacoustic imaging and fluorescence diffuse optical tomography. Int. J. Biol. Sci. 16, 1616–1628 (2020).