In this study, data from breast MRI-guided near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) exams delivered to 44 patients scheduled for surgical resection (ending in 16 benign and 28 malignant diagnoses) were analyzed using a spatial sensitivity metric to quantify the adequacy of the optical measurements for interrogating the tumor region of interest, as derived from the concurrent MRI scan. Along with positional sensitivity, the incorporation of spectral priors and the selection of an appropriate regularization parameter in the image reconstruction were considered, and found to influence the diagnostic accuracy of the recovered images. Once optimized, the MRI/NIRS data was able to differentiate the malignant from benign lesions through both total hemoglobin (p = 0.0037) and tissue optical index (p = 0.00019), but required the relative spatial sensitivity of the optical measurement data to each lesion to be above 1%. Spectral constraints implemented during the reconstruction were required to obtain statistically significant diagnostic information from images of H2O, lipids, and Tissue Optical Index (TOI). These results confirm the need for optical systems that have homogenous spatial coverage of the breast while still being able to accommodate the normal range of breast sizes.
Keywords: (100.6890) Three-dimensional image processing; (170.0110) Imaging systems; (170.6960) Tomography.