A combination of optical imaging technologies with cancer-specific molecular imaging agents is a potentially powerful strategy to improve cancer detection and enable image-guided surgery. Bladder cancer is primarily managed endoscopically by white light cystoscopy with suboptimal diagnostic accuracy. Emerging optical imaging technologies hold great potential for improved diagnostic accuracy but lack imaging agents for molecular specificity. Using fluorescently labeled CD47 antibody (anti-CD47) as molecular imaging agent, we demonstrated consistent identification of bladder cancer with clinical grade fluorescence imaging systems, confocal endomicroscopy, and blue light cystoscopy in fresh surgically removed human bladders. With blue light cystoscopy, the sensitivity and specificity for CD47-targeted imaging were 82.9 and 90.5%, respectively. We detected variants of bladder cancers, which are diagnostic challenges, including carcinoma in situ, residual carcinoma in tumor resection bed, recurrent carcinoma following prior intravesical immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), and excluded cancer from benign but suspicious-appearing mucosa. CD47-targeted molecular imaging could improve diagnosis and resection thoroughness for bladder cancer.
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