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Published March 3, 2014 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

A Dual-Modality Photoacoustic and Ultrasound Imaging System for Noninvasive Sentinel Lymph Node Detection: Preliminary Clinical Results


Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) has emerged as an accurate, less invasive alternative to axillary lymph node dissection, and it has rapidly become the standard of care for patients with clinically node-negative breast cancer. The sentinel lymph node (SLN) hypothesis states that the pathological status of the axilla can be accurately predicted by determining the status of the first (i.e., sentinel) lymph nodes that drain from the primary tumor. Physicians use radio-labeled sulfur colloid and/or methylene blue dye to identify the SLN, which is most likely to contain metastatic cancer cells. However, the surgical procedure causes morbidity and associated expenses. To overcome these limitations, we developed a dual-modality photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging system to noninvasively detect SLNs based on the accumulation of methylene blue dye. Ultimately, we aim to guide percutaneous needle biopsies and provide a minimally invasive method for axillary staging of breast cancer. The system consists of a tunable dye laser pumped by a Nd:YAG laser, a commercial ultrasound imaging system (Philips iU22), and a multichannel data acquisition system which displays co-registered photoacoustic and ultrasound images in real-time. Our clinical results demonstrate that real-time photoacoustic imaging can provide sensitive and specific detection of methylene blue dye in vivo. While preliminary studies have shown that in vivo detection of SLNs by using co-registered photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging is feasible, further investigation is needed to demonstrate robust SLN detection.

Additional Information

© 2014 SPIE. We thank Prof. James Ballard for his attentive reading of the manuscript. This work was sponsored by NIH grants R01 CA134539, DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award), R01 EB016963, and U54 CA136398. L. V. Wang has a financial interest in Endra, Inc., and Microphotoacoustics, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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