Noninvasive measurement of the distribution and oxygenation state of hemoglobin (Hb) inside the tissue is strongly required to analyze the tumor-associated vasculatures. We developed a photoacoustic imaging (PAI) system with a hemispherical-shaped detector array (HDA). Here, we show that PAI system with HDA revealed finer vasculature, more detailed blood-vessel branching structures, and more detailed morphological vessel characteristics compared with MRI by the use of breast shape deformation of MRI to PAI and their fused image. Morphologically abnormal peritumoral blood vessel features, including centripetal photoacoustic signals and disruption or narrowing of vessel signals, were observed and intratumoral signals were detected by PAI in breast cancer tissues as a result of the clinical study of 22 malignant cases. Interestingly, it was also possible to analyze anticancer treatment-driven changes in vascular morphological features and function, such as improvement of intratumoral blood perfusion and relevant changes in intravascular hemoglobin saturation of oxygen. This clinical study indicated that PAI appears to be a promising tool for noninvasive analysis of human blood vessels and may contribute to improve cancer diagnosis.
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