Optoacoustic imaging (OAI) can detect haemoglobin and assess its oxygenation. However, the lack of a haemoglobin signal need not indicate a lack of perfusion. This study uses a novel method to assist the co-registration of optoacoustic images with dynamic contrast enhanced ultrasound (DCE-US) images to demonstrate, in preclinical tumour models, the value of combining haemoglobin imaging with a perfusion imaging method, showing that a lack of a haemoglobin signal does not necessarily indicate an absence of perfusion. DCE-US was chosen for this particular experiment because US is extremely sensitive to microbubble contrast agents and because microbubbles, like red blood cells but unlike currently available optical contrast agents, do not extravasate. Significant spatial correlations were revealed between the DCE-US properties and tumour blood-oxygen saturation and haemoglobin, as estimated using OAI. It is speculated that DCE-US properties could be applied as surrogate biomarkers for hypoxia when planning clinical radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

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