Laser opto-acoustic imaging of the breast: detection of cancer angiogenesis

Alexander A. Oraevsky, Valeri A. Andreev, Alexander A. Karabutov, Declan R. Fleming, Zoran Gatalica, Harbans Singh, Rinat O. Esenaliev

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


First clinical prototype laser optoacoustic imaging system (LOIS) for breast cancer detection was designed and fabricated using a compact Nd:YAG laser, fiberoptic light delivery system, a linear array of 12 wide-band acoustic transducers, and a data acquisition card operated by computer with original signal processing and image reconstruction code. Initially images of small absorbing were recorded in the milk with optical properties resembling those of the breast at the wavelength of 1064-nm. The system was optimized for contrast, sensitivity and axial (in-depth) resolution. The small number of acoustic transducers (12), which in turn was determined by the system cost and the time of image acquisition limited the lateral resolution of the images. Clinical ex-vivo studies on radical mastectomy specimens were performed and compared with x-ray radiography, MRI and ultrasound imaging. The results of our pilot clinical studies showed pronounced opto-acoustic contrast of approx. 300% between breast tumors and normal breast tissues. This contrast substantially exceeds any other endogenous tissue contrast currently utilized in clinical ultrasonography, MRI and x-ray mammography. Based on literature data and our gross observations of tumor cross-sections we hypothesize that the opto-acoustic contrast results primarily from increased optical absorption in the dense microvascularity of the tumors. In patients receiving radiotherapy, tumors were found to contain enhances concentration of dense highly scattering fiberotic tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-363
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 Optical Tomography and Spectroscopy of Tissue III - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Jan 24 1999Jan 28 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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