A novel instrument has been developed for the angular, spectral, azimuthal and polarization measurements of the light backscattering by living biological tissues. These measurements provide the most comprehensive quantitative information about the light scattering and allow obtaining unique quantitative information about the microarchitecture of living cells and tissues. We have shown the potential of this technique to characterize and diagnose very early premalignant changes in the epithelia, for which no histological or molecular markers has yet been established. Using this technique in our studies with a rodent model of colon carcinogenesis we obtained several parameters diagnostically significant for the detection of precancerous changes, such as the number density of red blood cells in the capillary network immediately underlying the epithelium, the fractal dimension of the tissue microarchitecture, and the average roundness of subcellular structures.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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