This work presents results of in vivo and in situ measurements of hepatocellular carcinoma by a developed optical biopsy system. Here, we describe the technical details of the implementation of fluorescence lifetime and diffuse reflectance measurements by the system, equipped with an original needle optical probe, compatible with the 17.5G biopsy needle standard. The fluorescence lifetime measurements observed by the setup were verified in fresh solutions of NADH and FAD++, and then applied in a murine model for the characterisation of inoculated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and adjacent liver tissue. The technique, applied in vivo and in situ and supplemented by measurements of blood oxygen saturation, made it possible to reveal statistically significant transformation in the set of measured parameters linked with the cellular pools of NADH and NADPH. In the animal model, we demonstrate that the characteristic changes in registered fluorescent parameters can be used to reliably distinguish the HCC tissue, liver tissue in the control, and the metabolically changed liver tissues of animals with the developed HCC tumour. For further transition to clinical applications, the optical biopsy system was tested during the routing procedure of the PNB in humans with suspected HCC. The comparison of the data from murine and human HCC tissues suggests that the tested animal model is generally representative in the sense of the registered fluorescence lifetime parameters, while statistically significant differences between their absolute values can still be observed.
Bibliographical note© 2022 Optica Publishing Group under the terms of the Optica Open Access Publishing Agreement
Acknowledgements. The authors acknowledge the support of the Russian Science Foundation under project No. 21-15-00325 (development of an optical biopsy system and conducting experimental study) and the Russian Federation Government grant No. 075-15-2019-1877 (separation and analysis of free NADH and the protein-bound fraction of NADH), grant Academy of Finland No. 318281 (data visualisation).