In vivo light scattering for the detection of cancerous and precancerous lesions of the cervix.
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A noninvasive optical diagnostic system for detection of cancerous and precancerous lesions of the cervix was evaluated in vivo. The optical system included a fiber-optic probe designed to measure polarized and unpolarized light transport properties of a small volume of tissue. An algorithm for diagnosing tissue based on the optical measurements was developed that used four optical properties, three of which were related to light scattering properties and the fourth of which was related to hemoglobin concentration. A sensitivity of ~77% and specificities in the mid 60% range were obtained for separating high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and cancer from other pathologies and normal tissue. The use of different cross-validation methods in algorithm development is analyzed, and the relative difficulties of diagnosing certain pathologies are assessed. Furthermore, the robustness of the optical system for use by different doctors and to changes in fiber-optic probe are also assessed, and potential improvements in the optical system are discussed.