Currently, imaging technologies that enable dermsurgeons to visualize non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) in vivo preoperatively are lacking, resulting in excessive or incomplete removal. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is a volumetric imaging tool to differentiate tissue chromophores and exogenous contrast agents, based on differences in their spectral signatures and used for high-resolution imaging of functional and molecular contrast at centimeter scale depth. We performed MSOT imaging with two- and three-dimensional handheld scanners on 21 Asian patients with NMSC. The tumors and their oxygenation parameters could be distinguished from normal skin endogenously. The lesion dimensions and depths were extracted from the spectral melanin component with three-dimensional spatial resolution up to 80 μm. The intraclass correlation coefficient correlating tumor dimension measurements between MSOT and ex vivo histology of excised tumors, showed good correlation. Real-time 3D imaging was found to provide information on lesion morphology and its underlying neovasculature, indicators of the tumor’s aggressiveness.

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