Multispectral tissue mapping - developing a concept for the optical evaluation of liver disease

Crispin Schneider, Daniil I. Nikitichev, Wenfeng Xia, Kurinchi Gurusamy, Adrien E. Desjardins, Brian R. Davidson

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Purpose: Alterations in the optical absorption behavior of liver tissue secondary to pathological processes can be evaluated by multispectral analysis, which is increasingly being explored as an imaging adjunct for use in liver surgery. Current methods are either invasive or have a limited wavelength spectrum, which restricts utility. This proof of concept study describes the development of a multispectral imaging (MSI) method called multispectral tissue mapping (MTM) that addresses these issues.
Approach: The imaging system consists of a tunable excitation light source and a near-infrared camera. Following the development stage, proof of concept experiments are carried out where absorption spectra from colorectal cancer liver metastasis (CRLM), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and liver steatosis specimen are acquired and compared to controls. Absorption spectra are compared to histopathology examination as the current gold standard for tissue assessment. Generalized linear mixed modeling is employed to compare absorption characteristics of individual pixels and to select wavelengths for false color image processing with the aim of visually enhancing cancer tissue.
Results: Analysis of individual pixels revealed distinct absorption spectra therefore suggesting that MTM is possible. A prominent absorption peak at 1210 nm was found in lipid-rich animal tissues and steatotic liver specimen. Liver cancer tissue had a heterogeneous appearance on MSI. Subsequent statistical analysis suggests that measuring changes in absorption behavior may be a feasible method to estimate the pixel-based probability of cancer being present. In CRLM, this was observed throughout 1100 to 1700 nm, whereas in HCC it was concentrated around 1140 and 1430 nm. False color image processing visibly enhances contrast between cancer and normal liver tissues.
Conclusions: The system’s ability to enable no-touch MSI at 1100 to 1700 nm was demonstrated. Preliminary data suggest that MTM warrants further exploration as a potential imaging tool for the detection of liver cancer during surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 066001
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2020


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