Advances in fluorescence imaging techniques to detect oral cancer and its precursors.

Rice University, Department of Bioengineering, 6500 Main St., Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Future Oncology (Impact Factor: 2.61). 07/2010; 6(7):1143-54. DOI: 10.2217/fon.10.79
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Oral cancer is a significant health problem in the USA and throughout the world. Most oral cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage, when treatment is less successful and treatment-associated morbidity is more severe. A number of new diagnostic aids to conventional oral examination have recently been introduced to assist in the early detection of oral neoplasia. In particular, autofluorescence imaging has emerged as a promising adjunctive technique to improve early identification of oral premalignant lesions. Direct visual inspection of tissue autofluorescence has shown encouraging results in high-prevalence populations, but the technique requires subjective interpretation and depends on the visual recognition skills of the examiner. Capturing and analyzing digital fluorescence images can reduce subjectivity and potentially improve sensitivity of detection of precancerous changes. Recent studies of wide-field autofluorescence imaging in low-prevalence populations suggest that benign lesions such as inflammation may give rise to false-positive results. High-resolution fluorescence imaging is a new modality that can be used in conjunction with wide-field imaging to improve specificity by imaging subcellular detail of neoplastic tissues. The combination of wide-field and high-resolution fluorescence imaging systems with automated image analysis should be investigated to maximize overall diagnostic performance for early detection of oral neoplasia.

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