Oblique Polarized Reflectance Spectroscopy for Depth Sensitive Measurements in the Epithelial Tissue
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Optical spectroscopy has shown potential as a tool for precancer detection by discriminating alterations in the optical properties within epithelial tissues. Identifying depth-dependent alterations associated with the progression of epithelial cancerous lesions can be especially challenging in the oral cavity due to the variable thickness of the epithelium and the presence of keratinization. Optical spectroscopy of epithelial tissue with improved depth resolution would greatly assist in the isolation of optical properties associated with cancer progression. Here, we report a fiber optic probe for oblique polarized reflectance spectroscopy (OPRS) that is capable of depth sensitive detection by combining the following three approaches: multiple beveled fibers, oblique collection geometry, and polarization gating. We analyze how probe design parameters are related to improvements in collection efficiency of scattered photons from superficial tissue layers and to increased depth discrimination within epithelium. We have demonstrated that obliquely-oriented collection fibers increase both depth selectivity and collection efficiency of scattering signal. Currently, we evaluate this technology in a clinical trial of patients presenting lesions suspicious for dysplasia or carcinoma in the oral cavity. We use depth sensitive spectroscopic data to develop automated algorithms for analysis of morphological and architectural changes in the context of the multilayer oral epithelial tissue. Our initial results show that OPRS has the potential to improve the detection and monitoring of epithelial precancers in the oral cavity.