MRI-guided diffuse optical spectroscopy of malignant and benign breast lesions

Vasilis Ntziachristos, A. G. Yodh, Mitchell D. Schnall, Britton Chance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

304 Scopus citations


We present the clinical implementation of a novel hybrid system that combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and near-infrared (NIR) optical measurements for the noninvasive study of breast cancer in vivo. Fourteen patients were studied with a MR-NIR prototype imager and spectrometer. A diffuse optical tomographic scheme employed the MR images as a priori information to implement an image-guided NIR localized spectroscopic scheme. All patients who entered the study also underwent gadolinium -enhanced MRI and biopsy so that the optical findings were cross-validated with MR readings and histopathology. The technique quantified the oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin of five malignant and nine benign breast lesions in vivo. Breast cancers were found with decreased oxygen saturation and higher blood concentration than most benign lesions. The average hemoglobin concentration ([H]) of cancers was 0.130±0.100 mM, and the average hemoglobin saturation (Y) was 60±9% compared to [H]=0.018±0.005 mM and Y=69±6% of background tissue. Fibroadenomas exhibited high hemoglobin concentration [H]=0.060±0.010 mM and mild decrease in oxygen saturation Y=67±2%. Cysts and other normal lesions were easily differentiated based on intrinsic contrast information. This novel optical technology can be a significant add-on in MR examinations and can be used to characterize functional parameters of cancers with diagnostic and treatment prognosis potential. It is foreseen that the technique can play a major role in functional activation studies of brain and muscle as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Hemoglobin
  • MRI
  • NIR spectroscopy
  • Saturation


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