Early and accurate identification of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is important to improve treatment outcomes and prognosis. New optical imaging techniques may assist in both the diagnostic process as well as in the operative setting by real-time visualization and delineation of tumor. Narrow Band Imaging (NBI) is an endoscopic technique that uses blue and green light to enhance mucosal and submucosal blood vessels, leading to better detection of (pre)malignant lesions showing aberrant blood vessel patterns. Fluorescence optical imaging makes use of near-infrared fluorescent agents to visualize and delineate HNSCC, resulting in fewer positive surgical margins. Targeted fluorescent agents, such as fluorophores conjugated to antibodies, show the most promising results. The aim of this review is: (1) to provide the clinical head and neck surgeon an overview of the current clinical status of various optical imaging techniques in head and neck cancer; (2) to provide an in-depth review of NBI and fluorescence optical imaging, as these techniques have the highest potential for clinical implementation; and (3) to describe future improvements and developments within the field of these two techniques.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.