Endogenous fluorescence emission of the ovary

Urs Utzinger, Nathaniel D. Kirkpatrick, Rebekah A. Drezek, Molly A. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Epithelial ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate among the gynecologic cancers. Early detection would significantly improve survival and quality of life of women at increased risk to develop ovarian cancer. We have constructed a device to investigate endogenous signals of the ovarian tissue surface in the UV C to visible range and describe our initial investigation of the use of optical spectroscopy to characterize the condition of the ovary. We have acquired data from more than 33 patients. A table top spectroscopy system was used to collect endogenous fluorescence with a fiberoptic probe that is compatible with endoscopic techniques. Samples were broken into five groups: Normal-Low Risk (for developing ovarian cancer) Normal-High Risk, Benign, and Cancer. Rigorous statistical analysis was applied to the data using variance tests for direct intensity versus diagnostic group comparisons and principal component analysis (PCA) to study the variance of the whole data set. We conclude that the diagnostically most useful excitation wavelengths are located in the UV. Furthermore, our results indicate that UV B and C are most useful. A safety analysis indicates that UV-C imaging can be conducted at exposure levels below safety thresholds. We found that fluorescence excited in the UV-C and UV-B range increases from benign to normal to cancerous tissues. This is in contrast to the emission created with UV-A excitation which decreased in the same order. We hypothesize that an increase of protein production and a decrease of fluorescence contributions of the extracellular matrix could explain this behavior. Variance analysis also identified fluctuation of fluorescence at 320/380 which is associated with collagen cross link residues. Small differences were observed between the group at high risk and normal risk for ovarian cancer. High risk samples deviated towards the cancer group and low risk samples towards benign group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2005
EventOptical Diagnostics and Sensing V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 25 2005Jan 26 2005


  • Endogenous fluorescence
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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