We designed, fabricated and tested the laser optoacoustic imaging system for breast cancer detection (LOIS-64), which fuses optical and acoustic imaging techniques in one modality by utilizing pulsed optical illumination and ultrawide-band ultrasonic detection of resulting optoacoustic (OA) signals. The system was designed to image a single breast slice in craniocaudal or mediolateral projection with an arc-shaped array of 64 ultrawide-band acoustic transducers. The system resolution on breast phantoms was at least 0.5 mm. The single-channel sensitivity of 1.66 mVPa was estimated to be sufficient for single-pulse imaging of 6 to 11 mm tumors through the whole imaging slice of the breast. The implemented signal processing using the wavelet transform allowed significant reduction of the low-frequency (LF) acoustic noise, allowed localization of the optoacoustic signals from tumors, and enhanced the contrast and sharpened the boundaries of the optoacoustic images of the tumors. During the preliminary clinical studies on 27 patients, the LOIS-64 was able to visualize 18 out of 20 malignant lesions suspected from mammography and ultrasound images and confirmed by the biopsy performed after the optoacoustic tomography (OAT) procedure.