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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Optical properties of normal and cancerous human skin in the visible and near-infrared spectral range
Author(s): Elena Vladimirovna Salomatina; Brian Jiang; John Novak; Anna N. Yaroslavsky
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Paper Abstract

Differences in absorption and/or scattering of cancerous and normal skin have the potential to provide a basis for noninvasive cancer detection. In this study, we have determined and compared the in vitro optical properties of human epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat with those of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the spectral range from 370 to 1600 nm. Fresh specimens of normal and cancerous human skin were obtained from surgeries. The samples were rinsed in saline solution and sectioned. Diffuse reflectance and total transmittance were measured using an integrating sphere spectrophotometer. Absorption and reduced scattering coefficients were calculated from the measured quantities using an inverse Monte Carlo technique. The differences between optical properties of each normal tissue-cancer pair were statistically analyzed. The results indicate that there are significant differences in the scattering of cancerous and healthy tissues in the spectral range from 1050 to 1400 nm. In this spectral region, the scattering of cancerous lesions is consistently lower than that of normal tissues, whereas absorption does not differ significantly, with the exception of nodular basal cell carcinomas (BCC). Nodular BCCs exhibit significantly lower absorption as compared to normal skin. Therefore, the spectral range between 1050 and 1400 nm appears to be optimal for nonmelanoma skin cancer detection.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2006
PDF: 9 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 11(6) 064026 doi: 10.1117/1.2398928
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 11, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
Elena Vladimirovna Salomatina, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Brian Jiang, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr. (United States)
John Novak, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Anna N. Yaroslavsky, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)

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