Investigation of the usefulness of fluorescein sodium fluorescence in stereotactic brain biopsy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:317–324

Intraoperative frozen section assessment, to confirm acquisition of pathological tissues, is used in stereotactic brain biopsy to minimise sampling errors. Limitations include the dependence on dedicated neuro-oncology pathologists and an increase in operative duration. We investigated the use of intraoperative fluorescein sodium, and compared it to frozen section assessment, for confirming pathological tissue samples in the stereotactic biopsy of gadolinium-contrast-enhancing brain lesions.

Methods This prospective observational study consisted of 18 consecutive patients (12 men; median age, 63 years) who underwent stereotactic biopsy of gadolinium-contrast-enhancing brain lesions with intravenous fluorescein sodium administration. Twenty-three specimens were obtained and examined for the presence of fluorescence using a microscope with fluorescence visualisation capability. Positive and negative predictive values were calculated based on the fluorescence status of the biopsy samples with its corresponding intraoperative frozen section and definitive histopathological diagnosis.

Results Nineteen specimens (83%) were fluorescent and four (17%) were non-fluorescent. All 19 fluorescent specimens were confirmed to be lesional on intraoperative frozen section assessment and were suitable for histopathological diagnosis. Three of the non-fluorescent specimens were confirmed to be lesional on intraoperative frozen section assessment. One non-fluorescent specimen was non-diagnostic on frozen section and histological assessments. The positive predictive value was 100% and the negative predictive value was 25%.

Conclusions Fluorescein sodium fluorescence is as accurate as frozen section assessment in confirming sampling of pathological tissue in the stereotactic biopsy of gadolinium-contrast-enhancing brain lesions. Fluorescein sodium fluorescence-guided stereotactic biopsy is a useful addition to the neurosurgical armamentarium.