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Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Aug;114(2):188-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2009.05.014. Epub 2009 May 29.

Laparoscopic optical coherence tomography imaging of human ovarian cancer.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0104, USA.



Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death among women in the US largely due to late detection secondary to unreliable symptomology and screening tools without adequate resolution. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a recently emerging imaging modality with promise in ovarian cancer diagnostics, providing non-destructive subsurface imaging at imaging depths up to 2 mm with near-histological grade resolution (10-20 microm). In this study, we developed the first ever laparoscopic OCT (LOCT) device, evaluated the safety and feasibility of LOCT, and characterized the microstructural features of human ovaries in vivo.


A custom LOCT device was fabricated specifically for laparoscopic imaging of the ovaries in patients undergoing oophorectomy. OCT images were compared with histopathology to identify preliminary architectural imaging features of normal and pathologic ovarian tissue.


Thirty ovaries in 17 primarily peri- or post-menopausal women were successfully imaged with LOCT: 16 normal, 5 endometriosis, 3 serous cystadenoma, and 4 adenocarcinoma. Preliminary imaging features developed for each category reveal qualitative differences in the homogeneous character of normal post-menopausal ovary, the ability to image small subsurface inclusion cysts, and distinguishable features for endometriosis, cystadenoma, and adenocarcinoma.


We present the development and successful implementation of the first laparoscopic OCT probe. Comparison of OCT images and corresponding histopathology allowed for the description of preliminary microstructural features for normal ovary, endometriosis, and benign and malignant surface epithelial neoplasms. These results support the potential of OCT both as a diagnostic tool and an imaging modality for further evaluation of ovarian cancer pathogenesis.

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