Tissue Eng Regen Med.  2021 Feb;18(1):81-87. 10.1007/s13770-020-00323-y.

Investigation of the Clinical Potential of Polarization-Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography in a Laryngeal Tumor Model

  • 1Department of Electrical Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • 2Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Otolaryngology, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan 49267, Korea
  • 3Kosin Innovative Smart Healthcare Research Center, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Busan 49267, Korea


The vocal cord tissue consists of three anatomical layers from the surface to deep inside: the epithelium that contains almost no collagen, the lamina propria that is composed of abundant collagen, and the vocalis muscle layer. It is clinically important to visualize the tissue microstructure using a non-invasive method, especially in the case of vocal cord nodules or cancer, since histological changes in each layer of the vocal cord cause changes in the voice. Polarizationsensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) enables phase retardation measurement to evaluate birefringence of tissue with varied organization of collagen fibers in different tissue layers. Therefore, PS-OCT can visualize structural changes between normal and abnormal vocal cord tissue. METHOD: A rabbit laryngeal tumor model with different stages of tumor progression was investigated ex-vivo by PSOCT. A phase retardation slope-based analysis, which quantifies the birefringence in different layers, was conducted to distinguish the epithelium, lamina propria, and muscle layers.
The PS-OCT images showed a gradual decrease in birefringence from normal tissue to advanced tumor tissue. The quantitative analysis provided a more detailed comparison among different stages of the rabbit laryngeal tumor model, which was validated by the corresponding histological findings.
Differences in tissue birefringence was evaluated by PS-OCT phase retardation measurement. It is also possible to indirectly infer the dysplastic changes based on the mucosal and submucosal alterations.


Biomedical engineering; Optical tomography; Laryngeal cancer; Birefringence; Collagen
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