Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) provides information on haemoglobin levels and blood oxygenation (sO2). To facilitate assessment of the variability in sO2 and haemoglobin in tumours, for example in response to therapies, the baseline variability of these parameters was evaluated in subcutaneous head and neck tumours in mice, using a PAI system (MSOTinVision-256TF). Tumours of anaesthetized animals (midazolam-fentanyl-medetomidine) were imaged for 75 min, in varying positions, and repeatedly over 6 days. An increasing linear trend for average tumoural haemoglobin and blood sO2 was observed, when imaging over 75 min. There were no significant differences in these temporal trends, when repositioning tumours. A negative correlation was found between the percent decrease in blood sO2 over 6 days and tumour growth rate. This paper shows the potential of PAI to provide baseline data for assessing the significance of intra- and inter-tumoural variations that may eventually have value for predicting and/or monitoring cancer treatment response.

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