In this pilot study, we tested an ultrasound-guided optoacoustic tomography (US-OT) two-dimensional (2D) array scanner to understand the optoacoustic patterns of excised breastconserving surgery (BCS) specimens. We imaged 14 BCS specimens containing malignant tumors at eight wavelengths spanning 700-1100 nm. Spectral unmixing across multiple wavelengths allowed for visualizing major intrinsic chromophores in the breast tissue including hemoglobin and lipid up to a depth of 7 mm. We identified less/no lipid signals within the tumor and intense deoxy-hemoglobin (Hb) signals on the rim of the tumor as unique characteristics of malignant tumors in comparison to no tumor region. We also observed continuous broad lipid signals as features of negative margins and compromised lipid signals interrupted by vasculature as features of positive margins. These differentiating patterns can form the basis of US-OT to be explored as an alternate, fast and efficient intraoperative method for evaluation of tumor resection margins.

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