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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 22;6:30209. doi: 10.1038/srep30209.

Noninvasive, label-free, three-dimensional imaging of melanoma with confocal photothermal microscopy: Differentiate malignant melanoma from benign tumor tissue.

He J1,2,3, Wang N2,3, Tsurui H4, Kato M5, Iida M5, Kobayashi T2,3,6,7.

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National Astronomical Observatories/Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics &Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 188 Bancang Street, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210042, China.
Advanced Ultrafast Laser Research Center, University of Electro-Communications, 1-5-1 Chofugaoka, Chofu, Tokyo 182-8585, Japan.
JST, CREST, 5 Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0075, Japan.
Department of Pathology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, 65 Tsurumai-cho Showa-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi 466-8550, Japan.
Department of Electrophysics, National Chiao-Tung University, 1001 Ta Hsinchu Rd., Hsinchu 300, Taiwan.
Insitute of Laser Engineering, Osaka University, 2-6 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0971, Japan.


Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 2% of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. Early detection of malignant melanoma remains the key factor in saving lives. However, the melanoma diagnosis is still clinically challenging. Here, we developed a confocal photothermal microscope for noninvasive, label-free, three-dimensional imaging of melanoma. The axial resolution of confocal photothermal microscope is ~3 times higher than that of commonly used photothermal microscope. Three-dimensional microscopic distribution of melanin in pigmented lesions of mouse skin is obtained directly with this setup. Classic morphometric and fractal analysis of sixteen 3D images (eight for benign melanoma and eight for malignant) showed a capability of pathology of melanoma: melanin density and size become larger during the melanoma growth, and the melanin distribution also becomes more chaotic and unregulated. The results suggested new options for monitoring the melanoma growth and also for the melanoma diagnosis.

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