Abstract Introduction In addition to being a risk factor for breast cancer, breast density has been hypothesized to be a surrogate biomarker for predicting response to endocrine-based chemotherapies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a noninvasive bedside scanner based on diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging (DOSI) provides quantitative metrics to measure and track changes in breast tissue composition and density. To access a broad range of densities in a limited patient population, we performed optical measurements on the contralateral normal breast of patients before and during neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). In this work, DOSI parameters, including tissue hemoglobin, water, and lipid concentrations, were obtained and correlated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-measured fibroglandular tissue density. We evaluated how DOSI could be used to assess breast density while gaining new insight into the impact of chemotherapy on breast tissue. Methods This was a retrospective study of 28 volunteers undergoing NAC treatment for breast cancer. Both 3.0-T MRI and broadband DOSI (650 to 1,000 nm) were obtained from the contralateral normal breast before and during NAC. Longitudinal DOSI measurements were used to calculate breast tissue concentrations of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin, water, and lipid. These values were compared with MRI-measured fibroglandular density before and during therapy. Results Water (r = 0.843; P < 0.001), deoxyhemoglobin (r = 0.785; P = 0.003), and lipid (r = -0.707; P = 0.010) concentration measured with DOSI correlated strongly with MRI-measured density before therapy. Mean DOSI parameters differed significantly between pre- and postmenopausal subjects at baseline (water, P < 0.001; deoxyhemoglobin, P = 0.024; lipid, P = 0.006). During NAC treatment measured at about 90 days, significant reductions were observed in oxyhemoglobin for pre- (-20.0%; 95% confidence interval (CI), -32.7 to -7.4) and postmenopausal subjects (-20.1%; 95% CI, -31.4 to -8.8), and water concentration for premenopausal subjects (-11.9%; 95% CI, -17.1 to -6.7) compared with baseline. Lipid increased slightly in premenopausal subjects (3.8%; 95% CI, 1.1 to 6.5), and water increased slightly in postmenopausal subjects (4.4%; 95% CI, 0.1 to 8.6). Percentage change in water at the end of therapy compared with baseline correlated strongly with percentage change in MRI-measured density (r = 0.864; P = 0.012). Conclusions DOSI functional measurements correlate with MRI fibroglandular density, both before therapy and during NAC. Although from a limited patient dataset, these results suggest that DOSI may provide new functional indices of density based on hemoglobin and water that could be used at the bedside to assess response to therapy and evaluate disease risk.