Assessing tumor margin status during surgery is critical to ensure complete resection of cancer tissue; however, current approaches are ineffective and often result in repeat surgery. We present an optical imaging approach for margin assessment using topical application of two fluorescent stains, one targeted to a tumor biomarker and the other a nontargeted reference, to freshly excised specimens. Computing a normalized difference image from fluorescence images of the targeted and untargeted stains suppresses the confounding effects of nonspecific uptake. Applying this approach in excised breast tumor models produced promising tumor-to-normal tissue contrasts that were significantly higher than single-targeted-stain imaging.
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