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Diffuse optical tomography to monitor the photocoagulation front during interstitial photothermal therapy: Numerical simulations and measurements in tissue-simulating phantoms

He, Jie
Wilson, Brian C.
Piao, Daqing
Weersink, Robert
Near-infrared interstitial photothermal therapy (PTT) is currently undergoing clinical trials as an alternative to watchful waiting or radical treatments in patients with low/intermediate-risk focal prostate cancer. Currently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based thermography is used to monitor thermal energy delivery and determine indirectly the completeness of the target tumor destruction while avoiding damage to adjacent normal tissues, particularly the rectal wall. As an alternative, transrectal diffuse optical tomography (TRDOT) is being developed to image directly the photocoagulation boundary based on the changes in tissue optical properties, particularly scattering. An established diffusion-theory finite-element software platform was used to perform forward simulations to determine the sensitivity of changes in the optical signal resulting from a growing coagulated lesion with optical scattering contrast, for varying light source-detector separations in both longitudinal and transverse imaging geometries. The simulations were validated experimentally in tissue-simulating phantoms using an existing continuous-wave TRDOT system, in a configuration that is representative of one potential intended clinical use. This provides critical guidance for the optimum design of the transrectal applicator probe, in terms of achieving maximum sensitivity to the presence of the coagulation boundary and, consequently, the highest accuracy in determining the boundary location relative to the rectal wall.