Fluorescence guided surgery and tracer-dose, fact or fiction?

INTRODUCTION - Fluorescence guidance is an upcoming methodology to improve surgical accuracy. Challenging herein is the identification of the minimum dose at which the tracer can be detected with a clinical-grade fluorescence camera.

Using a hybrid tracer such as indocyanine green (ICG)-(99m)Tc-nanocolloid, it has become possible to determine the accumulation of tracer and correlate this to intraoperative fluorescence-based identification rates. In the current study, we determined the lower detection limit of tracer at which intraoperative fluorescence guidance was still feasible.

METHODS - Size exclusion chromatography (SEC) provided a laboratory set-up to analyze the chemical content and to simulate the migratory behavior of ICG-nanocolloid in tissue. Tracer accumulation and intraoperative fluorescence detection findings were derived from a retrospective analysis of 20 head-and-neck melanoma patients, 40 penile and 20 prostate cancer patients scheduled for sentinel node (SN) biopsy using ICG-(99m)Tc-nanocolloid. In these patients, following tracer injection, single photon emission computed tomography fused with computed tomography (SPECT/CT) was used to identify the SN(s). The percentage injected dose (% ID), the amount of ICG (in nmol), and the concentration of ICG in the SNs (in μM) was assessed for SNs detected on SPECT/CT and correlated with the intraoperative fluorescence imaging findings.

RESULTS - SEC determined that in the hybrid tracer formulation, 41 % (standard deviation: 12 %) of ICG was present in nanocolloid-bound form. In the SNs detected using fluorescence guidance a median of 0.88 % ID was present, compared to a median of 0.25 % ID in the non-fluorescent SNs (p-value < 0.001). The % ID values could be correlated to the amount ICG in a SN (range: 0.003-10.8 nmol) and the concentration of ICG in a SN (range: 0.006-64.6 μM).

CONCLUSIONS - The ability to provide intraoperative fluorescence guidance is dependent on the amount and concentration of the fluorescent dye accumulated in the lesion(s) of interest. Our findings indicate that intraoperative fluorescence detection with ICG is possible above a μM concentration.

European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. 2016 Mar 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Gijs H KleinJan, Anton Bunschoten, Nynke S van den Berg, Renato A Valdès Olmos, W Martin C Klop, Simon Horenblas, Henk G van der Poel, Hans-Jürgen Wester, Fijs W B van Leeuwen

Interventional Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, C2-S zone, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands., Interventional Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, C2-S zone, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands., Interventional Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, C2-S zone, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands., Interventional Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, C2-S zone, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands., Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Department of Urology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Department of Urology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Pharmaceutical Radiochemistry, Technical University Munich, Walther-Meißner-Str. 3, 85748, Garching, Germany., Interventional Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, C2-S zone, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands. 

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