Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography for brain tumor characterization

Yun Qian Li, Kai Shih Chiu, Xin Rui Liu, Tien Yu Hsiao, Gang Zhao, Shan Ji Li, Ching Po Lin, Chia Wei Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Complete removal of brain tumor is of the most interest to a surgeon because the resection area directly relates to recurrence rate. Although there are many biomedical imaging modalities applied to locate the positions of tumors, they lack the spatial resolution to precisely delineate the boundary between brain tumor and normal brain tissues and are also inconvenient to be used intraoperatively. This study aims to examine the feasibility of the label-free, polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) for distinguishing brain tumors from normal brain tissues. Ex vivo samples were obtained from two patients with grade II and II-III glioma; healthy porcine brain tissues were utilized as the control group. In the results obtained from normal porcine brain, white matter contains significantly higher birefringent property over grey matter indicated by phase retardation. Based on the knowledge obtained from porcine brain experiment, a similar high-birefringent tissue is observed partially on the edge of the sliced glioma, and such tissue is considered as white matter because glioma originates through the mutation of the healthy white matter's glia cells. Additionally, differences between grey matter and brain tumor are not apparent based on phase retardation images and further histogram analysis. The capability of PS-OCT for distinguishing glioma from white matter is demonstrated. It could be a potential system to facilitate safe and maximum resection area, and finally, lead to ameliorated outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8598853
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Brain tumor
  • optical coherence tomography
  • optical polarization
  • white matter


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