Optical imaging in cancer research: Basic principles, tumor detection, and therapeutic monitoring

Metasebya Solomon, Yang Liu, Mikhail Y. Berezin, Samuel Achilefu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Accurate and rapid detection of diseases is of great importance for assessing the molecular basis of pathogenesis, preventing the onset of complications, and implementing a tailored therapeutic regimen. The ability of optical imaging to transcend wide spatial imaging scales ranging from cells to organ systems has rejuvenated interest in using this technology for medical imaging. Moreover, optical imaging has at its disposal diverse contrast mechanisms for distinguishing normal from pathologic processes and tissues. To accommodate these signaling strategies, an array of imaging techniques has been developed. Importantly, light absorption, and emission methods, as well as hybrid optical imaging approaches are amenable to both small animal and human studies. Typically, complex methods are needed to extract quantitative data from deep tissues. This review focuses on the development of optical imaging platforms, image processing techniques, and molecular probes, as well as their applications in cancer diagnosis, staging, and monitoring therapeutic response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-415
Number of pages19
JournalMedical Principles and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Activatable probes
  • Diffuse optical tomography
  • Fluorescence lifetime
  • Image reconstruction
  • Molecular probe
  • Near-infrared
  • Photoacoustic imaging
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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