Histopathological analysis has been the gold standard of conventional cancer diagnosis for decades, which is based on the structural and/or biochemical change of the cancerous sites, through biopsy. However, due to cosmetic reasons, the biopsy procedure has to be limited. In this work, we report the noninvasive, in situ, 3-D optical diagnostic method for “virtual biopsy”. To obtain simultaneously the structural and pathological information, a multimodality Confocal Reflectance/Auto-Fluorescence Tomography (CRAFT) system was established. Nude mice skin with cancerous sites and normal skin sites were compared with the system. The cellular density and reflective intensity in cancerous sites reflects the structural alteration of the tissue. The corresponding NAD(P)H decay index for cancerous sites is 2.45-fold that of normal sites, leading to a clearly separation of the cancerous sites with the healthy control sites. The results are verified by the followed histological analysis. Therefore, CRAFT may provide a novel method for the in vivo, non-invasive diagnosis of early cancer.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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