Optical imaging of oral squamous cell carcinoma and cervical lymph node metastasis
Background: In oral cancer surgery, intraoperative optical imaging could help the surgeon to determine adequate tumor-free margins. Methods: Tumor-specific near-infrared fluorescence agents targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (CW800 EGF) or glucose transporter system (CW800 2-DG) were administered to mice with tongue carcinoma and cervical lymph node metastases. Tumor growth was followed by bioluminescence imaging. Fluorescence signals were compared with a control group of healthy animals. Results: Significantly higher fluorescence was found in tongue tumors and cervical lymph node metastases compared with that in control animals. Fluorescence correlated with histopathology. Tumor-to-background ratio of CW800 EGF in the tongue was 13.8 (SD = 6.1) and in the lymph nodes 15.7 (SD = 8.8). For CW800 2-DG, the tumor-to-background ratio in the tongue was 4.6 (SD = 2.1) and in the lymph nodes 33.9 (SD = 18.4). Conclusions: Optical imaging can be used to detect oral cancer and cervical lymph node metastases and could potentially improve complete surgical resection by real-time image-guided surgery.