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Francesco Acerbi, Morgan Broggi, Marica Eoli, Elena Anghileri, Claudio Cavallo, Carlo Boffano, Roberto Cordella, Lucia Cuppini, Bianca Pollo, Marco Schiariti, Sergio Visintini, Chiara Orsi, Emanuele La Corte, Giovanni Broggi and Paolo Ferroli


Fluorescein, a dye that is widely used as a fluorescent tracer, accumulates in cerebral areas where the blood-brain barrier is damaged. This quality makes it an ideal dye for the intraoperative visualization of high-grade gliomas (HGGs). The authors report their experience with a new fluorescein-guided technique for the resection of HGGs using a dedicated filter on the surgical microscope.


The authors initiated a prospective Phase II trial (FLUOGLIO) in September 2011 with the objective of evaluating the safety of fluorescein-guided surgery for HGGs and obtaining preliminary evidence regarding its efficacy for this purpose. To be eligible for participation in the study, a patient had to have suspected HGG amenable to complete resection of the contrast-enhancing area. The present report is based on the analysis of the short- and long-term results in 20 consecutive patients with HGGs (age range 45–74 years), enrolled in the study since September 2011.

In all cases fluorescein (5–10 mg/kg) was injected intravenously after intubation. Tumor resection was performed with microsurgical technique and fluorescence visualization by means of BLUE 400 or YELLOW 560 filters on a Pentero microscope.


The median preoperative tumor volume was 30.3 cm3 (range 2.4–87.8 cm3). There were no adverse reactions related to fluorescein administration. Complete removal of contrast-enhanced tumor was achieved in 80% of the patients. The median duration of follow-up was 10 months. The 6-months progression-free survival rate was 71.4% and the median survival was 11 months.


Analysis of these 20 cases suggested that fluorescein-guided technique with a dedicated filter on the surgical microscope is safe and allows a high rate of complete resection of contrast-enhanced tumor as determined on early postoperative MRI. Clinical trial registration no.: 2011-002527-18 (EudraCT).

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Paolo Ferroli, Morgan Broggi, Silvia Schiavolin, Francesco Acerbi, Valentina Bettamio, Dario Caldiroli, Alberto Cusin, Emanuele La Corte, Matilde Leonardi, Alberto Raggi, Marco Schiariti, Sergio Visintini, Angelo Franzini and Giovanni Broggi


The Milan Complexity Scale—a new practical grading scale designed to estimate the risk of neurological clinical worsening after performing surgery for tumor removal—is presented.


A retrospective study was conducted on all elective consecutive surgical procedures for tumor resection between January 2012 and December 2014 at the Second Division of Neurosurgery at Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta of Milan. A prospective database dedicated to reporting complications and all clinical and radiological data was retrospectively reviewed. The Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) was used to classify each patient’s health status. Complications were divided into major and minor and recorded based on etiology and required treatment. A logistic regression model was used to identify possible predictors of clinical worsening after surgery in terms of changes between the preoperative and discharge KPS scores. Statistically significant predictors were rated based on their odds ratios in order to build an ad hoc complexity scale. For each patient, a corresponding total score was calculated, and ANOVA was performed to compare the mean total scores between the improved/unchanged and worsened patients. Relative risk (RR) and chi-square statistics were employed to provide the risk of worsening after surgery for each total score.


The case series was composed of 746 patients (53.2% female; mean age 51.3 ± 17.1). The most common tumors were meningiomas (28.6%) and glioblastomas (24.1%). The mortality rate was 0.94%, the major complication rate was 9.1%, and the minor complication rate was 32.6%. Of 746 patients, 523 (70.1%) patients improved or remained unchanged, and 223 (29.9%) patients worsened. The following factors were found to be statistically significant predictors of the change in KPS scores: tumor size larger than 4 cm, cranial nerve manipulation, major brain vessel manipulation, posterior fossa location, and eloquent area involvement (Nagelkerke R2 = 0.286). A grading scale was obtained with scores ranging between 0 and 8. Worsened patients showed mean total scores that were significantly higher than the improved/unchanged scores (3.24 ± 1.55 vs 1.47 ± 1.58; p < 0.001). Finally, a grid was developed to show the risk of worsening after surgery for each total score: scores higher than 3 are suggestive of worse clinical outcome.


Through the evaluation of the 5 aforementioned parameters—the Big Five—the Milan Complexity Scale enables neurosurgeons to estimate the risk of a negative clinical course after brain tumor surgery and share these data with the patient. Furthermore, the Milan Complexity Scale could be used for research and educational purposes and better health system management.