Detection of surgical margins in oral cavity cancer: the role of dynamic optical contrast imaging

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Purpose of reviewThe quantity of tissue removed during an oncologic surgical procedure is not standardized and there are numerous reports of local recurrence despite histologically adequate resection margins. The oral cavity is one of the sites in the head and neck with high chances of recurrence following negative margins. To address this need, this article reviews the recent applications of Dynamic Optical Contrast Imaging (DOCI) towards both oral screening and the intraoperative evaluation of tumor margins in head and neck surgery.Recent findingsHuman ex-vivo and in-vivo trials suggest DOCI is well tolerated, low-cost, and sensitive for differentiating cancerous from normal tissues throughout the head and neck, in addition to the oral cavity. Ex-vivo imaging of OSCC specimens generated histologically verified image contrast. Furthermore, in-vivo intraoperative results demonstrate significant potential for image-guided detection and resection of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).SummaryDOCI augments tissue contrast and may enable surgeons to clinically screen patients for oral cancer, make histologic evaluations in vivo with fewer unnecessary biopsies, delineate clinical margins for tumor resection, provide guidance in the choice of biopsy sites, and preserve healthy tissue to increase the postoperative functionality and quality of life of the patient.

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