Near-infrared imaging of breast cancer using optical contrast agents



Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer death. On the basis of three studies performed by our group, this article reviews the current status of optical breast imaging using extrinsic contrast agents. To date, only two contrast agents have been applied in human studies, indocyanine green (ICG) and omocianine. Both contrast media were used for absorption and fluorescence imaging. Generally speaking, malignant breast lesions exhibited higher absorption contrast as well as higher fluorescence contrast compared to benign lesions or non-diseased breast tissue. Some groups consider early enhancement characteristics helpful for differentiation between malignant and benign lesions. Late fluorescence ICG imaging – capitalizing on the extravasation of the dye through the wall of tumorous vessels – seems to be a promising technique to distinguish malignant from benign breast lesions. (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)