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Published February 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

Photoacoustic microscopy of arteriovenous shunts and blood diffusion in early-stage tumors


Angiogenesis in a tumor region creates arteriovenous (AV) shunts that cause an abnormal venous blood oxygen saturation (sO_2) distribution. Here, we applied optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy to study the AV shunting in vivo. First, we built a phantom to image sO_2 distribution in a vessel containing converged flows from two upstream blood vessels with different sO_2 values. The phantom experiment showed that the blood from the two upstream vessels maintained a clear sO_2 boundary for hundreds of seconds, which is consistent with our theoretical analysis using a diffusion model. Next, we xenotransplanted O-786 tumor cells in mouse ears and observed abnormal sO_2 distribution in the downstream vein from the AV shunts in vivo. Finally, we identified the tumor location by tracing the sO_2 distribution. Our study suggests that abnormal sO_2 distribution induced by the AV shunts in the vessel network may be used as a new functional benchmark for early tumor detection.

Additional Information

© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. The authors appreciate the close reading of the manuscript by Professor James Ballard. We also thank Cheng Ma, Pengfei Hai, and Hsun-Chia Hsu for helpful discussions. This work was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health under Grants DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award), R01 CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award), and R01 CA159959. Competing financial interests: L.V.W. has financial interests in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., neither of which supported this work.

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