Noninvasive assessment of breast cancer risk using time-resolved diffuse optical spectroscopy

Paola Taroni, Antonio Pifferi, Giovanna Quarto, Lorenzo Spinelli, Alessandro Torricelli, Francesca Abbate, Anna Villa, Nicola Balestreri, Simona Menna, Enrico Cassano, Rinaldo Cubeddu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breast density is a recognized strong and independent risk factor for breast cancer. We propose the use of time-resolved transmittance spectroscopy to estimate breast tissue density and potentially provide even more direct information on breast cancer risk. Time-resolved optical mammography at seven wavelengths (635 to 1060 nm) is performed on 49 subjects. Average information on breast tissue of each subject is obtained on oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin, water, lipids, and collagen content, as well as scattering amplitude and power. All parameters, except for blood volume and oxygenation, correlate with mammographic breast density, even if not to the same extent. A synthetic optical index proves to be quite effective in separating different breast density categories. Finally, the estimate of collagen content as a more direct means for the assessment of breast cancer risk is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number060501
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • absorption
  • breast cancer
  • breast density
  • scattering
  • tissue spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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