Abstract

A fluorescence imaging device applied to the detection of early cancer is described. The apparatus is based on the imaging of laser-induced fluorescence of a dye that localizes in a tumor with a higher concentration than in the surrounding normal tissue after iv injection. Tests carried out in the upper aerodigestive tract, the tracheobronchial tree, and the esophagus with Photofrin II (1 mg/kg of body weight) as the fluorescent agent are reported as examples. The fluorescence is induced by violet (410-nm) light from a continuous-wave (cw) krypton-ion laser. The fluorescence contrast between tumor and surrounding tissue is enhanced by real-time image processing. This is done by the simultaneous recording of the fluorescence image in two spectral domains (470–600 and 600–720 nm), after which these two images are digitized and manipulated with a mathematical operator (look-up table) at video frequency. Among the 7 photodetections performed in the tracheobronchial tree, 6 were successful, whereas it was the case for only 5 of the 15 lesions investigated in squamous mucosa (upper aerodigestive tract and esophagus). The sources of false positives and false negatives are evaluated in terms of the fluorescent dye, tissue optical properties, and illumination optics.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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