Detection of Melanoma Metastases in Resected Human Lymph Nodes by Noninvasive Multispectral Photoacoustic Imaging

Gerrit Cornelis Langhout, Diederik Grootendorst, Omgo Edo Nieweg, Michel Wilhelmus, Jacobus Maria Wouters, Jos Alexander van der Hage, Jithin Jose, Hester van Boven, Wiendelt Steenbergen, Srirang Manohar, Theo J.M. Ruers

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Objective. Sentinel node biopsy in patients with cutaneous melanoma improves staging, provides prognostic information, and leads to an increased survival in node-positive patients. However, frozen section analysis of the sentinel node is not reliable and definitive histopathology evaluation requires days, preventing intraoperative decision-making and immediate therapy. Photoacoustic imaging can evaluate intact lymph nodes, but specificity can be hampered by other absorbers such as hemoglobin. Near infrared multispectral photoacoustic imaging is a new approach that has the potential to selectively detect melanin. The purpose of the present study is to examine the potential of multispectral photoacoustic imaging to identify melanoma metastasis in human lymph nodes. Methods. Three metastatic and nine benign lymph nodes from eight melanoma patients were scanned ex vivo using a Vevo LAZR multispectral photoacoustic imager and were spectrally analyzed per pixel. The results were compared to histopathology as gold standard. Results. The nodal volume could be scanned within 20 minutes. An unmixing procedure was proposed to identify melanoma metastases with multispectral photoacoustic imaging. Ultrasound overlay enabled anatomical correlation. The penetration depth of the photoacoustic signal was up to 2 cm. Conclusion. Multispectral three-dimensional photoacoustic imaging allowed for selective identification of melanoma metastases in human lymph nodes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number163652
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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