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Opt Express. 2002 Dec 2;10(24):1431-43.

Detection of tumorigenesis in urinary bladder with optical coherence tomography: optical characterization of morphological changes.


Most transitional cell tumorigenesis involves three stages of subcellular morphological changes: hyperplasia, dysplasia and neoplasia. Previous studies demonstrated that owing to its high spatial resolution and intermediate penetration depth, current OCT technology including endoscopic OCT could delineate the urothelium, submucosa and the upper muscular layers of the bladder wall. In this paper, we will discuss the sensitivity and limitations of OCT in diagnosing and staging bladder cancer. Based on histomorphometric evaluations of nuclear morphology, we modeled the resultant backscattering changes and the characteristic changes in OCT image contrast. In the theoretical modeling, we assumed that nuclei were the primary sources of scattering and were uniformly distributed in the uroepithelium, and compared with the results of the corresponding prior OCT measurements. According to our theoretical modeling, normal bladder shows a thin, uniform and low scattering urothelium, so does an inflammatory lesion except thickening in the submucosa. Compared with a normal bladder, a hyperplastic lesion exhibits a thickened, low scattering urothelium whereas a neoplastic lesion shows a thickened urothelium with increased backscattering. These results support our previous animal study that OCT has the potential to differentiate inflammation, hyperplasia, and neoplasia by quantifying the changes in urothelial thickening and backscattering. The results also suggest that OCT might not have the sensitivity to differentiate the subtle morphological changes between hyperplasia and dysplasia based on minor backscattering differences.

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