Optical Imaging in Oral Oncology

  • Prashanth PantaEmail author
  • Laurie J. Rich
  • Mukund Seshadri


There has been widespread interest in the application of simple light-based methods and optical imaging as adjunctive tools in oral oncology. These optical imaging techniques exploit differences in properties such as absorption, reflectance, and light scattering between normal and transformed epithelium. Optical imaging methods can also utilize tissue autofluorescence arising from endogenous chromatophores to detect malignant tissue. For example, early oral malignancy is often associated with a loss of fluorescence or fluorescence visualization loss (FVL) which may be used to aid in tissue selection for biopsy. The autofluorescence-based Visual Enhanced Light scope (VELscope®), chemiluminescence-based ViziLite® system, the Identafi® system that uses multispectral fluorescence and reflectance, and narrow band imaging (NBI) instruments are among the optical imaging-based diagnostic platforms that are currently available for clinical use. In addition, photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is an advanced hybrid imaging method that allows for deep tissue imaging and is actively being evaluated for diagnostic applications in oncology. In this chapter, we will review the basics of these optical imaging methods and summarize preclinical and clinical evidence on their performance in oral oncology. The goal of this chapter is to provide the reader with an overview of these methods and their potential clinical applications.


Oral cancer Light-based detection Fluorescence visualization loss Narrow band imaging Photoacoustic imaging 



Support from R01CA204636, R01DE024595, S10OD010393-01, and P30CA06156 is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prashanth Panta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laurie J. Rich
    • 2
  • Mukund Seshadri
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Oral Medicine and RadiologyMNR Dental College and HospitalSangareddyIndia
  2. 2.Department of Oral OncologyRoswell Park Comprehensive Cancer CenterBuffaloUSA

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