Fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy for breast cancer margins assessment

Dimitris Gorpas, Hussain Fatakdawala, Yanhong Zhang, Richard J Bold, Laura Marcu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


During breast conserving surgery (BCS), which is the preferred approach to treat most early stage breast cancers, the surgeon attempts to excise the tumor volume, surrounded by thin margin of normal tissue. The intra-operative assessment of cancerous areas is a challenging procedure, with the surgeon usually relying on visual or tactile guidance. This study evaluates whether time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) presents the potential to address this problem. Point TRFS measurements were obtained from 19 fresh tissue slices (7 patients) and parameters that characterize the transient signals were quantified via constrained least squares deconvolution scheme. Fibrotic tissue (FT, n=69), adipose tissue (AT, n=76), and invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC, n=27) were identified in histology and univariate statistical analysis, followed by multi-comparison test, was applied to the corresponding lifetime data. Significant differentiation between the three tissue types exists at 390 nm and 500 nm bands. The average lifetime is 3.23±0.74 ns for AT, 4.21±0.83 ns for FT and 4.71±0.35 ns (p<0.05) for IDC at 390 nm. Due to the smaller contribution of collagen in AT the average lifetime value is different from FT and IDC. Additionally, although intensity measurements do not show difference between FT and IDC, lifetime can distinguish them. Similarly, in 500 nm these values are 7.01±1.08 ns, 5.43±1.05 ns and 4.39±0.88 ns correspondingly (p<0.05) and this contrast is due to differentiation in retinol or flavins relative concentration, mostly contributing to AT. Results demonstrate the potential of TRFS to intra-operatively characterize BCS breast excised tissue in real-time and assess tumor margins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISBN (Print)9781628414080
StatePublished - 2015
EventOptical Biopsy XIII: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 10 2015Feb 11 2015


OtherOptical Biopsy XIII: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Breast cancer
  • Lifetime
  • Time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Tumor margins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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