Label-free multiphoton imaging to assess neoadjuvant therapy responses in breast carcinoma

Int J Biol Sci. 2020 Feb 21;16(8):1376-1387. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.41579. eCollection 2020.


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has been used increasingly in patients with early-stage or locally advanced breast carcinoma, and has been recommended as a general approach in locally advanced-stage diseases. Assessing therapy response could offer prognostic information to help determine subsequent nursing plan; particularly it is essential to identify responders and non-responders for the sake of helping develop follow-up treatment strategies. However, at present, diagnostic accuracy of preoperative clinical examination are still not satisfactory. Here we presented an alternate approach to monitor tumor and stroma changes associated with neoadjuvant therapy responses in breast carcinoma, with a great potential for becoming a new diagnostic tool-multiphoton microscopy. Imaging results showed that multiphoton imaging techniques have the ability to label-freely visualize tumor response such as tumor necrosis, and stromal response including fibrosis, mucinous response, inflammatory response as well as vascular hyperplasia in situ at cellular and subcellular levels. Moreover, using automated image analysis and a set of scoring methods, we found significant differences in the area of cell nucleus and in the content of collagen fibers between the pre-treatment and post-treatment breast carcinoma tissues. In summary, this study was conducted to pathologically evaluate the response of breast carcinoma to preoperative chemotherapy as well as to assess the efficacy of multiphoton microscopy in detecting these pathological changes, and experimental results demonstrated that this microscope may be a promising tool for label-free, real-time assessment of treatment response without the use of any exogenous contrast agents.

Keywords: breast carcinoma; multiphoton imaging; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; treatment response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnostic Imaging / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Inflammation
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated
  • Preoperative Period
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome