Evaluating the use of optical coherence tomography for the detection of epithelial cancers in vitro

Louise E. Smith, Vanessa Hearnden, Zenghai Lu, Rod Smallwood, Keith D. Hunter, Stephen J. Matcher, Martin H. Thornhill, Craig Murdoch, Sheila MacNeil

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive imaging methodology that is able to image tissue to depths of over 1 mm. Many epithelial conditions, such as melanoma and oral cancers, require an invasive biopsy for diagnosis. A noninvasive, real-time, point of care method of imaging depth-resolved epithelial structure could greatly improve early diagnosis and long-term monitoring in patients. Here, we have used tissue-engineered (TE) models of normal skin and oral mucosa to generate models of melanoma and oral cancer. We have used these to determine the ability of OCT to image epithelial differences in vitro. We report that while in vivo OCT gives reasonable depth information for both skin and oral mucosa, invitro the information provided is less detailed but still useful. OCT can provide reassurance on the development of TE models of skin and oral mucosa as they develop invitro. OCT was able to detect the gross alteration in the epithelium of skin and mucosal models generated with malignant cell lines but was less able to detect alteration in the epithelium of TE models that mimicked oral dysplasia or, in models where tumor cells had penetrated into the dermis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116015
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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