Model-based light scattering spectroscopy (LSS) seemed a promising technique for in-vivo diagnosis of dysplasia in multiple organs. In the studies, the residual spectrum, the difference between the observed and modeled diffuse reflectance spectra, was attributed to single elastic light scattering from epithelial nuclei, and diagnostic information due to nuclear changes was extracted from it. We show that this picture is incorrect. The actual single scattering signal arising from epithelial nuclei is much smaller than the previously computed residual spectrum, and does not have the wavelength dependence characteristic of Mie scattering. Rather, the residual spectrum largely arises from assuming a uniform hemoglobin distribution. In fact, hemoglobin is packaged in blood vessels, which alters the reflectance. When we include vessel packaging, which accounts for an inhomogeneous hemoglobin distribution, in the diffuse reflectance model, the reflectance is modeled more accurately, greatly reducing the amplitude of the residual spectrum. These findings are verified via numerical estimates based on light propagation and Mie theory, tissue phantom experiments, and analysis of published data measured from Barrett's esophagus. In future studies, vessel packaging should be included in the model of diffuse reflectance and use of model-based LSS should be discontinued.
Gold nanoshells (GNS) are a new class of nanoparticles that can be optically tuned to scatter or absorb light from the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared (NIR) region by varying the core (dielectric silica)/shell (gold) ratio. In addition to spectral tunability, GNS are inert and bioconjugatable, making them potential labels for in vivo imaging and therapy of tumors. We report the use of GNS as exogenous contrast agents for enhanced visualization of tumors using narrow-band imaging (NBI). NBI takes advantage of the strong NIR absorption of GNS to distinguish between blood and nanoshells in the tumor by imaging in narrow wavelength bands in the visible and NIR, respectively. Using tissue-simulating phantoms, we determined the optimum wavelengths to enhance contrast between blood and GNS. We then used the optimum wavelengths for ex vivo imaging of tumors extracted from human colon cancer xenograft bearing mice injected with GNS. Systemically delivered GNS accumulated passively in tumor xenografts by the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. Ex vivo NBI of tumor xenografts demonstrated heterogeneous distribution of GNS with a clear distinction from the tumor vasculature. The results of this study demonstrate the feasibility of using GNS as contrast agents to visualize tumors using NBI.