In vivo molecular imaging of colorectal cancer using quantum dots targeted to vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 and optical coherence tomography/laser-induced fluorescence dual-modality imaging

Jordan L. Carbary-Ganz, Weston A. Welge, Jennifer K Barton, Urs Utzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Optical coherence tomography/laser induced fluorescence (OCT/LIF) dual-modality imaging allows for minimally invasive, nondestructive endoscopic visualization of colorectal cancer in mice. This technology enables simultaneous longitudinal tracking of morphological (OCT) and biochemical (fluorescence) changes as colorectal cancer develops, compared to current methods of colorectal cancer screening in humans that rely on morphological changes alone. We have shown that QDot655 targeted to vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (QD655-VEGFR2) can be applied to the colon of carcinogen-treated mice and provides significantly increased contrast between the diseased and undiseased tissue with high sensitivity and specificity ex vivo. QD655-VEGFR2 was used in a longitudinal in vivo study to investigate the ability to correlate fluorescence signal to tumor development. QD655-VEGFR2 was applied to the colon of azoxymethane (AOM-) or saline-treated control mice in vivo via lavage. OCT/LIF images of the distal colon were taken at five consecutive time points every three weeks after the final AOM injection. Difficulties in fully flushing unbound contrast agent from the colon led to variable background signal; however, a spatial correlation was found between tumors identified in OCT images, and high fluorescence intensity of the QD655 signal, demonstrating the ability to detect VEGFR2 expressing tumors in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number096015
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015



  • colorectal cancer
  • dual-modality
  • fluorescence spectroscopy
  • in vivo
  • microendoscope
  • molecular imaging
  • optical coherence tomography
  • quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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