Fluorescence spectroscopy of epithelial tissue throughout the dysplasia-carcinoma sequence in an animal model: Spectroscopic changes precede morphologic changes

Lezlee Coghlan, Urs Utzinger, Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Carrie Brookner, Andres Zuluaga, Irma Gimenez-Conti, Michele Follen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: The hamster cheek pouch carcinogenesis model, using chronic treatments of dimethylbenz[α]anthracene (DMBA) was used as a model system to investigate changes in epithelial tissue autofluorescence throughout the dysplasia-carcinoma sequence. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Fluorescence emission spectra were measured weekly from 42 DMBA-treated animals and 20 control animals at 337, 380, and 460 nm excitation. A subset of data in which histopathology was available was used to develop diagnostic algorithms to separate neoplastic and non-neoplastic tissue. The change in fluorescence intensity over time was examined in all samples at excitation-emission wavelength pairs identified as diagnostically useful. Results: Algorithms based on autofluorescence can separate neoplastic and non-neoplastic tissue with 95% sensitivity and 93% specificity. Greatest contributions to diagnostic algorithms are obtained at 380 nm excitation, and 430, 470, and 600 nm emission. Changes in fluorescence intensity are apparent as early as 3 weeks after initial treatment with DMBA, whereas morphologic changes associated with dysplasia occur on average at 7.5-12.5 weeks after initial treatment. Conclusions: Fluorescence spectroscopy provides a potential tool to identify biochemical changes associated with dysplasia and hyperplasia, which precede morphologic changes observed in histologically stained sections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 18 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • DMBA
  • Fluorescence
  • Spectrometry
  • Syrian hamster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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