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Imaging Technique Measures Basal Cell Cancer Thickness

Optical coherence tomography measurements correlate with routine histologic findings

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Optical coherence tomography is as effective as routine histopathologic techniques for estimating the superficial thickness of basal cell carcinomas, according to a pilot study in the April issue of Dermatologic Surgery.

Jesse Olmedo, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and colleagues 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. They compared the results with direct measurements of tumor thickness made with a microscope micrometer.

The researchers found that there was excellent correlation between optical coherence tomography and routine histopathological tests for all 20 sites to a depth of about 1 millimeter. They also found 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 wrote. "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."

Equipment used was provided by Lightlab. One author was the CFO of Lightlab Imaging Inc.

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