Oxygen-Enhanced and Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Optoacoustic Tomography Provide Surrogate Biomarkers of Tumor Vascular Function, Hypoxia, and Necrosis

Cancer Res. 2018 Oct 15;78(20):5980-5991. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-1033. Epub 2018 Aug 16.


Measuring the functional status of tumor vasculature, including blood flow fluctuations and changes in oxygenation, is important in cancer staging and therapy monitoring. Current clinically approved imaging modalities suffer long procedure times and limited spatiotemporal resolution. Optoacoustic tomography (OT) is an emerging clinical imaging modality that may overcome these challenges. By acquiring data at multiple wavelengths, OT can interrogate hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation directly and resolve contributions from injected contrast agents. In this study, we tested whether two dynamic OT techniques, oxygen-enhanced (OE) and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-OT, could provide surrogate biomarkers of tumor vascular function, hypoxia, and necrosis. We found that vascular maturity led to changes in vascular function that affected tumor perfusion, modulating the DCE-OT signal. Perfusion in turn regulated oxygen availability, driving the OE-OT signal. In particular, we demonstrate for the first time a strong per-tumor and spatial correlation between imaging biomarkers derived from these in vivo techniques and tumor hypoxia quantified ex vivo Our findings indicate that OT may offer a significant advantage for localized imaging of tumor response to vascular-targeted therapies when compared with existing clinical DCE methods.Significance: Imaging biomarkers derived from optoacoustic tomography can be used as surrogate measures of tumor perfusion and hypoxia, potentially yielding rapid, multiparametric, and noninvasive cancer staging and therapeutic response monitoring in the clinic.Graphical Abstract: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/78/20/5980/F1.large.jpg Cancer Res; 78(20); 5980-91. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Contrast Media / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Perfusion
  • Photoacoustic Techniques
  • Software
  • Tumor Hypoxia


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Contrast Media
  • Oxygen