Quantifying melanin distribution using pump-probe microscopy and a 2D morphological autocorrelation transformation for melanoma diagnosis
Pump-probe microscopy is a quantitative molecular imaging technique that yields diagnostically relevant information from endogenous pigments, like melanin, by probing their ultrafast photodynamic properties. Previously, the method was applied to image thin, pigmented, cutaneous samples at different stages of melanoma, and results have shown a correlation between melanin photodynamic behavior and malignancy. Here, we add to the diagnostic power of the method by applying principles of mathematical morphology to parameterize melanins' image structure. Along with bulk melanin chemical information, results show that this method can differentiate invasive melanomas from non-invasive and benign lesions with high sensitivity and specificity (92.3% and 97.5%, respectively, with N = 53). The mathematical method and the statistical analysis are described in detail and results from cutaneous and ocular conjuctival melanocytic lesions are presented. © 2014 SPIE.