The heterogeneity in the pathological and clinical manifestations of ovarian cancer is a major hurdle impeding early and accurate diagnosis. A host of imaging modalities, including Doppler ultrasound, MRI, and CT, have been investigated to improve the assessment of ovarian lesions. We hypothesized that pathologic conditions might affect the ovarian vasculature and that these changes might be detectable by optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM). In our previous work, we developed a benchtop OR-PAM and demonstrated it on a limited set of ovarian and fallopian tube specimens. In this study, we collected data from over 50 patients, supporting a more robust statistical analysis. We then developed an efficient custom analysis pipeline for characterizing the vascular features of the samples, including the mean vessel diameter, vascular density, global vascular directionality, local vascular definition, and local vascular tortuosity/branchedness. Phantom studies using carbon fibers showed that our algorithm was accurate within an acceptable error range. Between normal ovaries and normal fallopian tubes, we observed significant differences in five of six extracted vascular features. Further, we showed that distinct subsets of vascular features could distinguish normal ovaries from cystic, fibrous, and malignant ovarian lesions. In addition, a statistically significant difference was found in the mean vascular tortuosity/branchedness values of normal and abnormal tubes. The findings support the proposition that OR-PAM can help distinguish the severity of tubal and ovarian pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15850
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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