Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, affecting more than 130,000 Americans every year1. Determining tumor margins prior to surgical resection is essential to providing optimal treatment and reducing recurrence rates. Colorectal cancer recurrence can occur in up to 20% of cases, commonly within three years after curative treatment. Typically, when colorectal cancers are resected, a margin of normal tissue on both sides of the tumor is required. The minimum margin required for colon cancer is 5 cm and for the lower rectum 2 cm. However, usually more normal tissue is taken on both sides of the tumor because the blood supply to the entire segment is removed with the surgery and therefore the entire segment must be removed. Anastomotic recurrences may result from inadequate margins. Pathologists look at the margins to ensure that there is no residual tumor and this is usually documented in the pathology report. We have developed a portable, point-of-care fiber bundle microendoscopy imaging system for detection of abnormalities in colonic epithelial microstructure. The system comprises a laptop, a modified fiber bundle image guide with a 1mm active area diameter and custom Lab VIEW interface, and is approved for imaging surgically resected colon tissue at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The microendoscopy probe provides high-resolution images of superficial epithelial histology in real-time to assist surgical guidance and to localize occult regions of dysplasia which may not be visible. Microendoscopy images of freshly resected human colonic epithelium were acquired using the microendoscopy device and subsequently mosaicked using custom post-processing software. Architectural changes in the glands were mapped to histopathology H&E slides taken from the precise location of the microendoscopy images. Qualitatively, glandular distortion and placement of image guide was used to map normal and dysplastic areas of the colonic tumor and surrounding region from microendoscopy images to H&E slides. Quantitative metrics for correlating images were also explored and were obtained by analyzing glandular diameter and spatial distribution as well as image texture.
Keywords: clinical; colorectal cancer; histopathology; image analysis; microendoscopy; proflavine.