Background & Aims: We previously used a novel biomedical optics technology, 4-dimensional elastically scattered light fingerprinting, to show that in experimental colon carcinogenesis the predysplastic epithelial microvascular blood content is increased markedly. To assess the potential clinical translatability of this putative field effect marker, we characterized the early increase in blood supply (EIBS) in human beings in vivo. Methods: We developed a novel, endoscopically compatible, polarization-gated, spectroscopic probe that was capable of measuring oxygenated and deoxygenated (Dhb) hemoglobin specifically in the mucosal microcirculation through polarization gating. Microvascular blood content was measured in 222 patients from the endoscopically normal cecum, midtransverse colon, and rectum. If a polyp was present, readings were taken from the polyp tissue along with the normal mucosa 10-cm and 30-cm proximal and distal to the lesion. Results: Tissue phantom studies showed that the probe had outstanding accuracy for hemoglobin determination (r2 = 0.99). Augmentation of microvasculature blood content was most pronounced within the most superficial (∼100 μm) layer and dissipated in deeper layers (ie, submucosa). EIBS was detectable within 30 cm from the lesion and the magnitude mirrored adenoma proximity. This occurred for both oxygenated hemoglobin and DHb, with the effect size being slightly greater for DHb. EIBS correlated with adenoma size and was not engendered by nonneoplastic (hyperplastic) polyps. Conclusions: We show, herein, that in vivo microvascular blood content can be measured and provides an accurate marker of field carcinogenesis. This technological/biological advance has numerous potential applications in colorectal cancer screening such as improved polyp detection and risk stratification.
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