Detection of Bladder Urothelial Carcinoma Using In Vivo Noncontact, Ultraviolet Excited Autofluorescence Measurements Converted into Simple Color Coded Images: A Feasibility Study

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A difficulty in nonmuscle invasive bladder cancers is the diagnosis of flat and small lesions during white light cystoscopy. We assessed a prototype that measures ultraviolet laser induced autofluorescence for endoscopic detection of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer.

Materials and Methods:

We compared spectroscopic results with histological findings in 3 groups, including normal urothelium, papillary tumors and flat lesions. The developed method is based on exciting the fluorescence of molecules naturally present in tissue using ultraviolet laser pulses. The diagnostic signal was converted into the intensity ratio of the emitted light at approximately 360 and 450 nm. This ratio depends on the histopathological state of the tissue. The signal was converted into a simple color coded image, in which green indicates normal tissue and red indicates neoplasm.


A total of 14 patients were included in analysis. At 360 and 450 nm excitation wavelengths the overall fluorescence intensity of bladder tumors was clearly decreased compared to that of normal urothelium regardless of tumor stage or grade. At the 308 nm excitation wavelength the shape of the tumor spectra, including carcinoma in situ, was markedly different from that of normal or nonspecific inflammatory mucosa. The correlation between red images and tumor in the specimen was 100%. No absolute intensity determinations were required since a definite diagnosis was established based on the fluorescence intensity ratio at 360 and 450 nm.


This feasibility study confirms the functionality of our clinical prototype for the noncontact imaging detection of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer via an endoscope using ultraviolet excited autofluorescence measurements.

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