Real-time imaging of the resection bed using a handheld probe to reduce incidence of microscopic positive margins in cancer surgery

Sarah J. Erickson-Bhatt, Ryan M. Nolan, Nathan D. Shemonski, Steven G. Adie, Jeffrey Putney, Donald Darga, Daniel T. McCormick, Andrew J. Cittadine, Adam M. Zysk, Marina Marjanovic, Eric J. Chaney, Guillermo L. Monroy, Fredrick A. South, Kimberly A. Cradock, Z. George Liu, Magesh Sundaram, Partha S. Ray, Stephen A. Boppart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wide local excision (WLE) is a common surgical intervention for solid tumors such as those in melanoma, breast, pancreatic, and gastrointestinal cancer. However, adequate margin assessment during WLE remains a significant challenge, resulting in surgical re-interventions to achieve adequate local control. Currently, no label-free imaging method is available for surgeons to examine the resection bed in vivo for microscopic residual cancer. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) enables real-time high-resolution imaging of tissue microstructure. Previous studies have demonstrated that OCT analysis of excised tissue specimens can distinguish between normal and cancerous tissues by identifying the heterogeneous and disorganized microscopic tissue structures indicative of malignancy. In this translational study involving 35 patients, a handheld surgical OCT imaging probe was developed for in vivo use to assess margins both in the resection bed and on excised specimens for themicroscopic presence of cancer. The image results from OCT showed structural differences between normal and cancerous tissue within the resection bed following WLE of the human breast. The ex vivo images were compared with standard postoperative histopathology to yield sensitivity of 91.7% [95% confidence interval (CI), 62.5%-100%] and specificity of 92.1% (95% CI, 78.4%-98%). This study demonstrates in vivo OCT imaging of the resection bed during WLE with the potential for real-time microscopic image-guided surgery. Cancer Res; 75(18); 3706-12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3706-3712
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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