Clinical workflows for the non-invasive detection and characterization of disease states could benefit from optical-imaging biomarkers. In this Perspective, we discuss opportunities and challenges towards the clinical implementation of optical-imaging biomarkers for the early detection of cancer by analysing two case studies: the assessment of skin lesions in primary care, and the surveillance of patients with Barrett’s oesophagus in specialist care. We stress the importance of technical and biological validations and clinical-utility assessments, and the need to address implementation bottlenecks. In addition, we define a translational roadmap for the widespread clinical implementation of optical-imaging technologies.
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We would like to thank F. Walter of the University of Cambridge for helpful comments on our manuscript. D.J.W., C.R.M.F. and S.E.B. are financially supported by CRUK (C14303/A17197, C47594/A16267, C47594/A21102, C55962/A24669) and EPSRC (C197/A16465, EP/N014588/1).
S.E.B. receives research support from iThera Medical GmbH and PreXion Inc., and chairs the International Photoacoustic Standardisation Consortium (IPASC).
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Waterhouse, D.J., Fitzpatrick, C.R.M., Pogue, B.W. et al. A roadmap for the clinical implementation of optical-imaging biomarkers. Nat Biomed Eng 3, 339–353 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-019-0392-5
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