Multimodal sentinel lymph node mapping with single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) and photoacoustic tomography

Walter J. Akers, W. Barry Edwards, Chulhong Kim, Baogang Xu, Todd N. Erpelding, Lihong V. Wang, Samuel Achilefu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The identification of cancer cells in the lymph nodes surrounding a tumor is important in establishing a prognosis. Optical detection techniques such as fluorescence and photoacoustic tomography (PAT) have been reported in preclinical studies for noninvasive sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping. A method for validation of these techniques is needed for clinical trials. We report the use of a multimodal optical-radionuclear contrast agent as a validation tool for PAT in a preclinical model. Methylene blue (MB) was radiolabeled with 125I for multimodal SLN mapping and used in conjunction with MB to assess the feasibility of multimodal SLN mapping in a rat model by PAT and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). MB provided sufficient contrast for identifying SLNs noninvasively with a PAT system adapted from a clinical ultrasound imaging system. The signal location was corroborated by SPECT using 125I labeled MB. The translation of PAT into the clinic can be facilitated by a direct comparison with established imaging methods using a clinically relevant dual SPECT and photoacoustic imaging agent. The new high-resolution PAT is a promising technology for the sensitive and accurate SLN detection in cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalTranslational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-D
  • computed tomography
  • CT
  • MB
  • methylene blue
  • PAT
  • PET
  • photoacoustic tomography
  • positron emission tomography
  • sentinel lymph node
  • single-photon emission computed tomography
  • SLN
  • three-dimensional
  • ultrasound
  • US

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Physiology (medical)


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