Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy of epithelial tissue with a smart fiber-optic probe

Bing Yu, Amy Shah, Vivek K. Nagarajan, Daron G. Ferris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) with a fiber-optic probe can noninvasively quantify the optical properties of epithelial tissues and has shown the potential as a cost-effective, fast and sensitive tool for diagnosis of early precancerous changes in the cervix and oral cavity. However, current DRS systems are susceptible to several sources of systematic and random errors, such as uncontrolled probe-to-tissue pressure and lack of a real-time calibration that can significantly impair the measurement accuracy, reliability and validity of this technology as well as its clinical utility. In addition, such systems use bulky, high power and expensive optical components which impede their widespread use in lowand middle-income countries (LMICs) where epithelial cancer related death is disproportionately high. In this paper we report a portable, easy-to-use and low cost, yet accurate and reliable DRS device that can aid in the screening and diagnosis of oral and cervical cancer. The device uses an innovative smart fiber-optic probe to eliminate operator bias, state-of-the-art photonics components to reduce size and power consumption, and automated software to reduce the need of operator training. The device showed a mean error of 1.4 ± 0.5% and 6.8 ± 1.7% for extraction of phantom absorption and reduced scattering coefficients, respectively. A clinical study on healthy volunteers indicated that a pressure below 1.0 psi is desired for oral mucosal tissues to minimize the probe effects on tissue physiology and morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-689
Number of pages15
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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