Detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasias and cancers in cervical tissue by in vivo light scattering

Judith R. Mourant, Thérese J. Bocklage, Tamara M. Powers, Heather M. Greene, Maxine H. Dorin, Alan G. Waxman, Meggan M. Zsemlye, Harriet O. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. This study aimed to examine the utility of in vivo elastic light scattering measurements, to identify cervical intraepithelial neoplasias 2,3 and cancers in women undergoing colposcopy, and to determine the effects of patient characteristics such as menstrual status on the elastic light scattering spectroscopic measurements. MATERIALS AND METHODS. A fiber optic probe was used to measure light transport in the cervical epithelium of patients undergoing colposcopy. Spectroscopic results from 151 patients were compared with histopathology of the measured and biopsied sites. A method of classifying the measured sites into 2 clinically relevant categories was developed and tested using 5-fold cross-validation. RESULTS. Statistically significant effects by age at diagnosis, menopausal status, timing of the menstrual cycle, and oral contraceptive use were identified, and adjustments based on these measurements were incorporated in the classification algorithm. A sensitivity of 77% ± 5% and a specificity of 62% ± 2% were obtained for separating cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2,3 and cancer from other pathologies and normal tissue. CONCLUSIONS. The effects of both menstrual status and age should be taken into account in the algorithm for classifying tissue sites based on elastic light scattering spectroscopy. When this is done, elastic light scattering spectroscopy shows good potential for real-time diagnosis of cervical tissue at colposcopy. Guiding biopsy location is one potential near-term clinical application area, whereas facilitating "see and treat" protocols is a longer term goal. Improvements in accuracy are essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of lower genital tract disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Colposcopy
  • Light scattering
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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