Method for accurate registration of tissue autofluorescence imaging data with corresponding histology: A means for enhanced tumor margin assessment

Jakob Unger, Tianchen Sun, Yi Ling Chen, Jennifer E. Phipps, Richard J Bold, Morgan Darrow, Kwan-Liu Ma, Laura Marcu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


An important step in establishing the diagnostic potential for emerging optical imaging techniques is accurate registration between imaging data and the corresponding tissue histopathology typically used as gold standard in clinical diagnostics. We present a method to precisely register data acquired with a point-scanning spectroscopic imaging technique from fresh surgical tissue specimen blocks with corresponding histological sections. Using a visible aiming beam to augment point-scanning multispectral time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy on video images, we evaluate two different markers for the registration with histology: Fiducial markers using a 405-nm CW laser and the tissue block's outer shape characteristics. We compare the registration performance with benchmark methods using either the fiducial markers or the outer shape characteristics alone to a hybrid method using both feature types. The hybrid method was found to perform best reaching an average error of 0.78±0.67 mm. This method provides a profound framework to validate diagnostical abilities of optical fiber-based techniques and furthermore enables the application of supervised machine learning techniques to automate tissue characterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015001
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • fiducials
  • fluorescence
  • histology
  • point-scanning
  • registration
  • shape matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering

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