Cancer characterization using light backscattering spectroscopy and quantitative ultrasound: an ex vivo study on sarcoma subtypes

Cyril, Malinet, Bruno, Montcel, Aurélie, Dutour, Iveta, Fajnorova, Hervé, Liebgott, Pauline, Muleki-Seya

Scientific Reports |

Histological analysis is the gold standard method for cancer diagnosis. However, it is prone to subjectivity and sampling bias. In response to these limitations, we introduce a quantitative bimodal approach that aims to provide non-invasive guidance towards suspicious regions. Light backscattering spectroscopy and quantitative ultrasound techniques were combined to characterize two different bone tumor types from animal models: chondrosarcomas and osteosarcomas. Two different cell lines were used to induce osteosarcoma growth. Histological analyses were conducted to serve as references. Three ultrasound parameters and intensities of the light reflectance profiles showed significant differences between chondrosarcomas and osteosarcomas at the 5% level. Likewise, variations in the same biomarkers were reported for the two types of osteosarcoma, despite their similar morphology observed in the histological examinations. These observations show the sensitivity of our techniques in probing fine tissue properties. Secondly, the ultrasound spectral-based technique identified the mean size of chondrosarcoma cells and nuclei with relative errors of about 22% and 9% respectively. The optical equivalent technique correctly extracted scatterer size distributions that encompass nuclei and cells for chondrosarcomas and osteosarcomas ( $$R^2 = 0.80$$
R 2 = 0.80

and $$R^2 = 0.73$$
R 2 = 0.73

respectively). The optical scattering contributions of nuclei were estimated at 52% for the chondrosarcomas and 69% for the osteosarcomas, probably indicating the abundant and the absent extracellular matrix respectively. Thus, the ultrasound and the optical methods brought complementary parameters. They successfully estimated morphological parameters at the cellular and the nuclear scales, making our bimodal technique promising for tumor characterization.