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John Y. K. Lee, John T. Pierce, Jayesh P. Thawani, Ryan Zeh, Shuming Nie, Maria Martinez-Lage and Sunil Singhal

OBJECTIVE

Meningiomas are the most common primary tumor of the central nervous system. Complete resection can be curative, but intraoperative identification of dural tails and tumor remnants poses a clinical challenge. Given data from preclinical studies and previous clinical trials, the authors propose a novel method of localizing tumor tissue and identifying residual disease at the margins via preoperative systemic injection of a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent contrast dye. This technique, what the authors call “second-window indocyanine green” (ICG), relies on the visualization of ICG approximately 24 hours after intravenous injection.

METHODS

Eighteen patients were prospectively identified and received 5 mg/kg of second-window ICG the day prior to surgery. An NIR camera was used to localize the tumor prior to resection and to inspect the margins following standard resection. The signal to background ratio (SBR) of the tumor to the normal brain parenchyma was measured in triplicate. Gross tumor and margin specimens were qualitatively reported with respect to fluorescence. Neuropathological diagnosis served as the reference gold standard to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of the imaging technique.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients harbored 15 WHO Grade I and 3 WHO Grade II meningiomas. Near-infrared visualization during surgery ranged from 18 to 28 hours (mean 23 hours) following second-window ICG infusion. Fourteen of the 18 tumors demonstrated a markedly elevated SBR of 5.6 ± 1.7 as compared with adjacent brain parenchyma. Four of the 18 patients showed an inverse pattern of NIR signal, that is, stronger in the adjacent normal brain than in the tumor (SBR 0.31 ± 0.1). The best predictor of inversion was time from injection, as the patients who were imaged earlier were more likely to demonstrate an appropriate SBR. The second-window ICG technique demonstrated a sensitivity of 96.4%, specificity of 38.9%, positive predictive value of 71.1%, and a negative predictive value of 87.5% for tumor.

CONCLUSIONS

Systemic injection of NIR second-window ICG the day before surgery can be used to visualize meningiomas intraoperatively. Intraoperative NIR imaging provides higher sensitivity in identifying meningiomas than the unassisted eye. In this study, 14 of the 18 patients with meningioma demonstrated a strong SBR compared with adjacent brain. In the future, reducing the time interval from dye injection to intraoperative imaging may improve fluorescence at the margins, though this approach requires further investigation.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02280954 (clincialtrials.gov).

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Steve S. Cho, Jun Jeon, Love Buch, Shayoni Nag, MacLean Nasrallah, Philip S. Low, M. Sean Grady, Sunil Singhal and John Y. K. Lee

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative molecular imaging with tumor-targeted fluorescent dyes can enhance resection rates. In contrast to visible-light fluorophores (e.g., 5-aminolevulinic-acid), near-infrared (NIR) fluorophores have increased photon tissue penetration and less contamination from tissue autofluorescence. The second-window ICG (SWIG) technique relies on passive accumulation of indocyanine green (ICG) in neoplastic tissues. OTL38, conversely, targets folate receptor overexpression in nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas. In this study, we compare the properties of these 2 modalities for NIR imaging of pituitary adenomas to better understand the potential for NIR imaging in neurosurgery.

METHODS

A total of 39 patients with pituitary adenomas were enrolled between June 2015 and January 2018 in 2, sequential, IRB-approved studies. Sixteen patients received systemic ICG infusions 24 hours prior to surgery, and another 23 patients received OTL38 infusions 2–3 hours prior to surgery. NIR fluorescence signal-to-background ratio (SBR) was recorded during and after resection. Immunohistochemistry was performed on the 23 adenomas resected from patients who received OTL38 to assess expression of folate receptor–alpha (FRα).

RESULTS

All 16 adenomas operated on after ICG administration demonstrated strong NIR fluorescence (mean SBR 4.1 ± 0.69 [SD]). There was no statistically significant difference between the 9 functioning and 7 nonfunctioning adenomas (p = 0.9). After administration of OTL38, the mean SBR was 1.7 ± 0.47 for functioning adenomas, 2.6 ± 0.91 for all nonfunctioning adenomas, and 3.2 ± 0.53 for the subset of FRα-overexpressing adenomas. Tissue identification with white light alone for all adenomas demonstrated 88% sensitivity and 90% specificity. SWIG demonstrated 100% sensitivity but only 29% specificity for both functioning and nonfunctioning adenomas. OTL38 was 75% sensitive and 100% specific for all nonfunctioning adenomas, but when assessment was limited to the 9 FRα-overexpressing adenomas, the sensitivity and specificity of OTL38 were both 100%.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative imaging with NIR fluorophores demonstrates highly sensitive detection of pituitary adenomas. OTL38, a folate-receptor–targeted fluorophore, is highly specific for nonfunctioning adenomas but has no utility in functioning adenomas. SWIG, which relies on passive diffusion into neoplastic tissue, is applicable to both functioning and nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, but it is less specific than targeted fluorophores. Thus, targeted and nontargeted NIR fluorophores play important, yet distinct, roles in intraoperative imaging. Selectively and intelligently using either agent has the potential to greatly improve resection rates and outcomes for patients with intracranial tumors.

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John Y. K. Lee, Steve S. Cho, Ryan Zeh, John T. Pierce, Maria Martinez-Lage, Nithin D. Adappa, James N. Palmer, Jason G. Newman, Kim O. Learned, Caitlin White, Julia Kharlip, Peter Snyder, Philip S. Low, Sunil Singhal and M. Sean Grady

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas account for approximately 10% of intracranial tumors and have an estimated prevalence of 15%–20% in the general US population. Resection is the primary treatment for pituitary adenomas, and the transsphenoidal approach remains the most common. The greatest challenge with pituitary adenomas is that 20% of patients develop tumor recurrence. Current approaches to reduce recurrence, such as intraoperative MRI, are costly, associated with high false-positive rates, and not recommended. Pituitary adenomas are known to overexpress folate receptor alpha (FRα), and it was hypothesized that OTL38, a folate analog conjugated to a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye, could provide real-time intraoperative visual contrast of the tumor versus the surrounding nonneoplastic tissues. The preliminary results of this novel clinical trial are presented.

METHODS

Nineteen adult patients who presented with pituitary adenoma were enrolled. Patients were infused with OTL38 2–4 hours prior to surgery. A 4-mm endoscope with both visible and NIR light capabilities was used to visualize the pituitary adenoma and its margins in real time during surgery. The signal-to-background ratio (SBR) was recorded for each tumor and surrounding tissues at various endoscope-to-sella distances. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to assess the FRα expression levels in all specimens and classify patients as having either high or low FRα expression.

RESULTS

Data from 15 patients (4 with null cell adenomas, 1 clinically silent gonadotroph, 1 totally silent somatotroph, 5 with a corticotroph, 3 with somatotrophs, and 1 somatocorticotroph) were analyzed in this preliminary analysis. Four patients were excluded for technical considerations. Intraoperative NIR imaging delineated the main tumors in all 15 patients with an average SBR of 1.9 ± 0.70. The FRα expression level of the adenomas and endoscope-to-sella distance had statistically significant impacts on the fluorescent SBRs. Additional considerations included adenoma functional status and time from OTL38 injection. SBRs were 3.0 ± 0.29 for tumors with high FRα expression (n = 3) and 1.6 ± 0.43 for tumors with low FRα expression (n = 12; p < 0.05). In 3 patients with immunohistochemistry-confirmed FRα overexpression (2 patients with null cell adenoma and 1 patient with clinically silent gonadotroph), intraoperative NIR imaging demonstrated perfect classification of the tumor margins with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. In addition, for these 3 patients, intraoperative residual fluorescence predicted postoperative MRI results with perfect concordance.

CONCLUSIONS

Pituitary adenomas and their margins can be intraoperatively visualized with the preoperative injection of OTL38, a folate analog conjugated to NIR dye. Tumor-to-background contrast is most pronounced in adenomas that overexpress FRα. Intraoperative SBR at the appropriate endoscope-to-sella distance can predict adenoma FRα expression status in real time. This work suggests that for adenomas with high FRα expression, it may be possible to identify margins and to predict postoperative MRI findings.