Fluorescence polarization of tetracycline derivatives as a technique for mapping nonmelanoma skin cancers

Anna N. Yaroslavsky, Elena V. Salomatina, Victor Neel, Rox Anderson, Thomas Flotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Nonmelanoma skin cancer is the most common form of human cancer, often resulting in high morbidity. Low visual contrast of these tumors makes their delineation a challenging problem. Employing a linearly polarized monochromatic light source and a wide-field CCD camera, we have developed a technique for fluorescence polarization imaging of the nonmelanoma cancers stained using antibiotics from the tetracycline family. To determine the feasibility of the method, fluorescence polarization images of 86 thick, fresh cancer excisions were studied. We found that the level of endogenous fluorescence polarization was much lower than that of exogenous, and that the average values of fluorescence polarization of tetracycline derivatives were significantly higher in cancerous as compared to normal tissue. Out of 86 tumors [54 stained in demeclocycline (DMN) and 32 in tetracycline (TCN)], in 79 cases (51-DMN, 28-TCN) the location, size, and shape of the lesions were identified accurately. The results of this trial indicate that nonmelanoma skin tumors can be distinguished from healthy tissue based on the differences in exogenous fluorescence polarization of TCN and/or DMN. Therefore, the developed technique can provide an important new tool for image-guided cancer surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014005
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Cancer
  • Fluorescence polarization
  • Imaging
  • Tetracycline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluorescence polarization of tetracycline derivatives as a technique for mapping nonmelanoma skin cancers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this