High-resolution fiber optic microscopy with fluorescent contrast enhancement for the identification of axillary lymph node metastases in breast cancer: a pilot study

Biomed Opt Express. 2010 Sep 16;1(3):911-922. doi: 10.1364/BOE.1.000911.


This prospective pilot study evaluates the potential of high-resolution fiber optic microscopy (HRFM) to identify lymph node metastases in breast cancer patients. 43 lymph nodes were collected from 14 consenting breast cancer patients. Proflavine dye was topically applied to lymph nodes ex vivo to allow visualization of nuclei. 242 images were collected at 105 sites with confirmed histopathologic diagnosis. Quantitative statistical features were calculated from images, assessed with one-way ANOVA, and were used to develop a classification algorithm with the goal of objectively discriminating between normal and metastatic tissue. A classification algorithm using mean image intensity and skewness achieved sensitivity of 79% (27/34) and specificity of 77% (55/71). This study demonstrates the technical feasibility and diagnostic potential of HRFM with fluorescent contrast in the ex vivo evaluation of lymph nodes from breast cancer patients.