Study shows value of optical coherence tomography in estimating carcinoma thickness

May 1, 2007

Scottsdale, Ariz. - A pilot study done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic here has found that optical coherence tomography is as effective as routine histopathologic techniques for estimating the superficial thickness of basal cell carcinomas, HealthDay News reports.

Scottsdale, Ariz. - A pilot study done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic here has found that optical coherence tomography is as effective as routine histopathologic techniques for estimating the superficial thickness of basal cell carcinomas, HealthDay News reports.

According to the study, reported in the April issue of Dermatologic Surgery, the research team reviewed 20 optical coherence tomography images of histopathologically confirmed basal cell carcinoma and used a computer-generated depth scale to measure the cancer’s depth. Investigators compared the results with direct measurements of tumor thickness made with a microscope micrometer. The researchers found there was excellent correlation between optical coherence tomography and routine histopathological tests for all 20 sites, to a depth of about 1 millimeter, and that the correlation was consistent for several different types of basal cell carcinoma.

“Our observations in this pilot study indicate that the current level of resolution of optical coherence tomography imaging seems adequate for triaging patients with basal cell cancer to medical or surgical management,” the authors write. “The superficial nature of thin cancers is easily identified by optical coherence tomography. Thus, it is conceivable that this technique could be used in the office setting to stage the depth and pathologic subtype of basal cell cancer.”

One of the study’s authors was the CFO of Lightlab Imaging Inc., which provided the equipment used in the study.