Applying localized external displacement to the breast surface can change the interstitial fluid pressure such that regional transient microvascular changes occur in oxygenation and vascular volume. Imaging these dynamic responses over time, while different pressures are applied, could provide selective temporal contrast for cancer relative to the surrounding normal breast. In order to investigate this possibility in normal breast tissue, a near-infrared spectral tomography system was developed that can simultaneously acquire data at three wavelengths with a 15 s time resolution per scan. The system was tested first with heterogeneous blood phantoms. Changes in regional blood concentrations were found to be linearly related to recovered mean hemoglobin concentration () values (). In a series of volunteer breast imaging exams, data from 17 asymptomatic subjects were acquired under increasing and decreasing breast compression. Calculations show that a displacement applied to the breast results in surface pressures in the range of depending on breast density. The recovered human data indicate that was reduced under compression and the normalized change was significantly correlated to the applied pressure with a p value of 0.005. The maximum decreases in breast tissue were associated with body mass index (BMI), which is a surrogate indicator of breast density. No statistically valid correlations were found between the applied pressure and the changes in tissue oxygen saturation () or water percentage () across the range of BMI values studied.
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