Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining of tissue samples is the standard approach in histopathology for imaging and diagnosing cancer. Recent reports have shown that multiphoton microscopy (MPM) provides better sample interface with single-cell resolution, which enhances traditional H&E staining and offers a powerful diagnostic tool with potential applications in oncology. The purpose of this study was to further expand the versatility of MPM by establishing the optical parameters required for imaging unstained histological sections of pancreatic neoplasms, thereby providing an efficient and environmentally sustainable alternative to H&E staining while improving the accuracy of pancreatic cancer diagnoses. We found that the high-resolution MPM images clearly distinguish between the structure of normal pancreatic tissues compared with pancreatic neoplasms in unstained histological sections, and discernable differences in tissue architecture and cell morphology between normal versus tumorigenic cells led to enhanced optical diagnosis of cancerous tissue. Moreover, quantitative assessment of the cytomorphological features visualized from MPM images showed significant differences in the nuclear–cytoplasmic ratios of pancreatic neoplasms compared with normal pancreas, as well as further distinguished pancreatic malignant tumors from benign tumors. These results indicate that the MPM could potentially serve as an optical tool for the diagnosis of pancreatic neoplasms in unstained histological sections.
Two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) microscopy, based on signal from cells, can provide detailed information on tissue architecture and cellular morphology in unstained histological sections to generate subcellular-resolution images from tissue directly. In this paper, we used TPEF microscopy to image microstructure of human normal gallbladder and three types of differentiated carcinomas in order to investigate the morphological changes of tissue structure, cell, cytoplasm, and nucleus without hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. It displayed that TPEF microscopy can well image the stratified normal gallbladder tissue, including the mucosa, the muscularis, and the serosa. The typical cancer cell, characterized by cellular and nuclear pleomorphism, enlarged nuclei, and augmented nucleolus, can be identified in histological sections without H-E staining as well. The quantitative results showed that the areas of the nucleus and the nucleolus in three types of cancerous cells were all significantly greater than those in normal gallbladder columnar epithelial cells derived from TPEF microscopic images. The studies demonstrated that TPEF microscopy has the ability to characterize tissue structures and cell morphology of gallbladder cancers differentiated from a normal gallbladder in a manner similar to traditional histological analysis. As a novel tool, it has the potential for future retrospective studies of tumor staging and migration by utilizing histological section specimens without H-E staining.
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