Imaging the Redox States of Human Breast Cancer Core Biopsies

  • H. N. Xu
  • J. Tchou
  • B. Chance
  • L. Z. LiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 765)


Currently, the gold standard to establish benign vs. malignant breast tissue diagnosis requires an invasive biopsy followed by tissue fixation for subsequent histopathological examination. This process takes at least 24 h resulting in tissues that are less suitable for molecular, functional, or metabolic analysis. We have recently conducted redox scanning (cryogenic NADH/flavoprotein fluorescence imaging) on snap-frozen breast tissue biopsy samples obtained from human breast cancer patients at the time of their breast cancer surgery. The redox state was readily determined by the redox scanner at liquid nitrogen temperature with extraordinary sensitivity, giving oxidized flavoproteins (Fp) an up to tenfold discrimination of cancer to non-cancer of breast in our preliminary data. Our finding suggests that the identified metabolic parameters could discriminate between cancer and non-cancer breast tissues without subjecting tissues to fixatives. The remainder of the frozen tissue is available for additional analysis such as molecular analysis and conventional histopathology. We propose that this novel redox scanning procedure may assist in tissue diagnosis in ex vivo tissues.


Mitochondrial redox ratio Fluorescence imaging Metabolism Tumor aggressiveness Oxygenation 



This work was supported by the Susan G. Komen Foundation Grant KG081069 (L.Z. Li), the Center of Magnetic Resonance and Optical Imaging (CMROI)—an NIH supported research resource P41RR02305 (R. Reddy), the Small Animal Imaging Program (SAIR) 2U24-CA083105 (J. Glickson & L. Chodosh), and the Abramson Cancer Center Pilot Grant funded by the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (J. Tchou)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Rena Rowan Breast Center, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Johnson Research FoundationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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