Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) has been demonstrated to be able to differentiate between benign and potentially malignant pancreatic cysts. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Physical Sciences, Inc., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Brandeis University have published their findings in Biomedical Optics Express. In their study they used surgically removed pancreas specimens of patients with pancreatic cysts to assess them with OCT and compare the results with histology examinations. OCT was able to reveal specific morphological characteristics used to differentiate between the low-risk and high-risk cysts.
Other imaging techniques are not always clear enough to distinguish low-risk and high-risk cysts. OCT has shown promise in disease diagnosis and has demonstrated in several organs to be able to differentiate between normal and pre-malignant conditions. These results might help OCT fulfill this promise.
The researchers plan to start a pilot study to test their technology in vivo. They will use an OCT probe small enough to be inserted into the pancreas via a biopsy needle. Their efforts will also be put into improving the imaging resolution, imaging range and penetration depth of the system.
Image caption: OCT appearance of a mucinous cyst and corresponding histology. Yellow arrows indicate the presence of smaller size (daughter) cysts, while the red arrow indicates the main cystic cavity. The cystic content (mucin) shows some scattering due the presence of dead epithelial cells. OCT scale bar = 500 ?m.
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Abstract in Biomedical Optics Express: Differentiation of pancreatic cysts with optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging: an ex vivo pilot study