Monitoring early tumor response to drug therapy with diffuse optical tomography

Molly L. Flexman, Fotios Vlachos, Hyun Keol Kim, Shashank R. Sirsi, Jianzhong Huang, Sonia L. Hernandez, Tessa B. Johung, Jeffrey W. Gander, Ari R. Reichstein, Brooke S. Lampl, Antai Wang, Mark A. Borden, Darrell J. Yamashiro, Jessica J. Kandel, Andreas H. Hielscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although anti-angiogenic agents have shown promise as cancer therapeutics, their efficacy varies between tumor types and individual patients. Providing patient-specific metrics through rapid noninvasive imaging can help tailor drug treatment by optimizing dosages, timing of drug cycles, and duration of therapy - thereby reducing toxicity and cost and improving patient outcome. Diffuse optical tomography (DOT) is a noninvasive three-dimensional imaging modality that has been shown to capture physiologic changes in tumors through visualization of oxygenated, deoxygenated, and total hemoglobin concentrations, using non-ionizing radiation with near-infrared light. We employed a small animal model to ascertain if tumor response to bevacizumab (BV), an anti-angiogenic agent that targets vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), could be detected at early time points using DOT. We detected a significant decrease in total hemoglobin levels as soon as one day after BV treatment in responder xenograft tumors (SK-NEP-1), but not in SK-NEP-1 control tumors or in non-responder control or BV-treated NGP tumors. These results are confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging T2 relaxometry and lectin perfusion studies. Noninvasive DOT imaging may allow for earlier and more effective control of anti-angiogenic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016014
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Angiogenesis
  • Avastin®
  • Bevacizumab
  • Cancer imaging
  • Diffuse optical imaging
  • Diffuse optical tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Therapy response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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