09 December 2015
Vol 7, Issue 317

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Sentinels Signal Metastasis. Lymphatic vessels (in green) wind throughout the body, passing through lymph nodes. Sentinel lymph nodes are the first nodes branching off of a tumor and therefore act as a drain for metastatic cells traveling elsewhere. To determine tumor metastasis, patients undergo surgery and biopsy of the sentinel nodes. For patients with melanoma, Stoffels et al. offer an imaging alternative to this invasive procedure: multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). MSOT can detect the presence of melanin in the sentinel lymph nodes, signaling the presence of metastasized melanoma, as melanin is a pigment not naturally found in the lymphatic system. In patients, MSOT was used to "rule out" metastasis, sparing them invasive biopsies and improving cancer management. [CREDIT: STOCKTREK IMAGES, INC./ALAMY STOCK PHOTO]