Sampling depth of a diffuse reflectance spectroscopy probe for in-vivo physiological quantification of murine subcutaneous tumor allografts

J Biomed Opt. 2018 Aug;23(8):1-14. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.23.8.085006.


Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is a probe-based spectral biopsy technique used in cancer studies to quantify tissue reduced scattering (μs') and absorption (μa) coefficients and vary in source-detector separation (SDS) to fine-tune sampling depth. In subcutaneous murine tumor allografts or xenografts, a key design requirement is ensuring that the source light interrogates past the skin layer into the tumor without significantly sacrificing signal-to-noise ratio (target of ≥15 dB). To resolve this requirement, a DRS probe was designed with four SDSs (0.75, 2.00, 3.00, and 4.00 mm) to interrogate increasing tissue volumes between 450 and 900 nm. The goal was to quantify percent errors in extracting μa and μs', and to quantify sampling depth into subcutaneous Balb/c-CT26 colon tumor allografts. Using an optical phantom-based experimental method, lookup-tables were constructed relating μa,μs', diffuse reflectance, and sampling depth. Percent errors were <10 % and 5% for extracting μa and μs', respectively, for all SDSs. Sampling depth reached up to 1.6 mm at the first Q-band of hemoglobin at 542 nm, the key spectral region for quantifying tissue oxyhemoglobin concentration. This work shows that the DRS probe can accurately extract optical properties and the resultant physiological parameters such as total hemoglobin concentration and tissue oxygen saturation, from sufficient depth within subcutaneous Balb/c-CT26 colon tumor allografts. Methods described here can be generalized for other murine tumor models. Future work will explore the feasibility of the DRS in quantifying volumetric tumor perfusion in response to anticancer therapies.

Keywords: absorption–scattering coefficient; allograft; diffuse reflectance spectroscopy; hemoglobin; murine subcutaneous tumor; optical properties; sampling depth; tissue oxygen saturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allografts
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Skin / diagnostic imaging
  • Skin / pathology
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxygen