Background: The fluorescence characteristics of tissues depend upon their biochemical composition and histomorphological architecture, both of which undergo a change during malignant transformation. These changes are detectable as an alteration in the fluorescence spectral profile of the tissues.
Methods: Biopsy specimens from clinically suspicious lesions and normal-appearing oral mucosa were obtained from patients. Fluorescence spectroscopic measurements were obtained to study the differences between normal and dysplastic tissues and to determine the most appropriate excitation wavelength(s) for exploiting these differences.
Results: Fluorescence spectra from a total of 12 histologically normal (healthy mucosa or benign lesions) and ten abnormal (dysplastic or malignant) tissue samples were compared. Significant spectral differences were seen between the two groups. These differences were most marked at the excitation wavelength of 410 nm. Using this wavelength, fluorescence correctly diagnosed 20 of 22 samples studied.
Conclusions: This technique accurately differentiates normal from abnormal tissues in vitro and has the potential applications for in vivo use as a noninvasive diagnostic tool.