BACKGROUND:
Recent advances in technology have enabled the development of various non-invasive skin imaging tools to aid real-time diagnosis of both benign and malignant skin tumours, minimizing the need for invasive skin biopsy. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is a recently developed non-invasive imaging tool, which offers the unique capacity for high resolution three dimensional (3D) optical mapping of tissue by further delivering highly specific optical contrast from a depth of several millimetres to centimetres in living tissues. MSOT enables volumetric, spectroscopic differentiation of tissue, both in vivo and in real time, with and without the application of biomarker-specific probes, and is further able of providing spatial maps of skin chromophores, as well as underlying blood vasculature.

METHODS:
Three patients with suspicious skin tumours consented to have their lesions imaged with MSOT prior to excision. The histological findings and measurements were compared.

RESULTS:
We demonstrated the first in vivo clinical use of MSOT for 3D reconstruction of skin tumours in three patients with good histological correlation.

CONCLUSION:
Our findings confirm the potential benefit of the new imaging method in guiding surgical intervention to achieve a more precise excision with better clearance and lower relapse rates. It can also potentially help to shorten the duration of Mohs’ micrographic surgery. Further large-scale studies are necessary to ensure correlation between MSOT and histology.

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