Evaluation of surgically excised breast tissue microstructure using wide-field optical coherence tomography

Breast J. 2020 May;26(5):917-923. doi: 10.1111/tbj.13663. Epub 2019 Oct 14.


Background: Currently, positive margins at lumpectomy contribute to health care cost, patient anxiety, and treatment delay. Multiple technology solutions are being explored with the aim of lowering re-excision rates for breast-conserving surgery (BCS). We examined wide-field optical coherence tomography (WF-OCT), an innovative adjunct intraoperative imaging tool for tissue visualization of margins.

Methods: This IRB-approved pilot study included women with invasive or in situ carcinoma scheduled for primary BCS. Lumpectomy specimens and any final/revised margins were imaged by optical coherence tomography immediately prior to standard histological processing. The optical coherence tomography used provided two-dimensional, cross-sectional, real-time depth visualization of the margin widths around excised specimens. A volume of images was captured for 10 × 10 cm tissue surface at high resolution (sub-30 μm) to a depth of 2 mm. Integrated interpretation was performed incorporating final pathology linked with the optical image data for correlation.

Results: Wide-field optical coherence tomography was performed on 185 tissue samples (50 lumpectomy specimens and 135 additional margin shaves) in 50 subjects. Initial diagnosis was invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) in 10, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in 14, IDC/DCIS in 22, invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) in 2, ILC/DCIS in 1, and sarcoma in 1. Optical coherence tomography was concordant with final pathology in 178/185 tissue samples for overall accuracy of 86% and 96.2% (main specimen alone and main specimen + shave margins). Of seven samples that were discordant, 57% (4/7) were considered close (DCIS < 2 mm from margin) per final pathology.

Conclusion: Wide-field optical coherence tomography demonstrated concordance with histology at tissue margins, supporting its potential for use as a real-time adjunct intraoperative imaging tool for margin assessment. Further studies are needed for comprehensive evaluation in the intraoperative setting.

Keywords: breast neoplasms; optical coherence tomography; surgery; surgical margins.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast* / surgery
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Pilot Projects
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence