Cancers are heterogeneous and contain various types of irregular structures that can go undetected when examining them with standard two-dimensional microscopes. Studies of intricate networks of vasculature systems, e.g., the tumour lymphatic microvessels, benefit largely from three-dimensional imaging data analysis.
The new DIPCO (Diagnosing Immunolabeled Paraffin-Embedded Cleared Organs) imaging platform uses three-dimensional light-sheet microscopy and whole-mount immunolabelling of cleared samples to study proteins and micro-anatomies deep inside of tumours.
Here, we uncovered the whole three-dimensional lymphatic microvasculature of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumours from a cohort of 30 patients with bladder cancer. Our results revealed more heterogeneous spatial deviations in more advanced bladder tumours. We also showed that three-dimensional imaging could determine tumour stage and identify vascular or lymphatic system invasion with higher accuracy than standard two-dimensional histological diagnostic methods. There was no association between sample storage times and outcomes, demonstrating that the DIPCO pipeline could be successfully applied on old FFPE samples.
Studying tumour samples with three-dimensional imaging could help us understand the pathological nature of cancers and provide essential information that might improve the accuracy of cancer staging.
Full Access Link: British Journal of Cancer