Is Visible Aminolevulinic Acid-Induced Fluorescence an Independent Biomarker for Prognosis in Histologically Confirmed (World Health Organization 2016) Low-Grade Gliomas?

Neurosurgery, Volume 84, Issue 6, June 2019, Pages 1214–1224

Approximately 20% of low-grade gliomas (LGG) display visible protoporphyrin fluorescence during surgery after 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) administration.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if fluorescence represents a prognostic marker in LGG.

METHODS: Seventy-four consecutive patients with LGG (World Health Organization 2016) were operated on with 5-ALA. Fluorescent tissue was specifically biopsied. Tumor size, age, Karnofsky index, contrast-enhancement, fluorescence, and molecular factors (IDH1/IDH2-mutations, Ki67/MIB1 Index, 1p19q codeletions, ATRX, EGFR, p53 expression, and O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase promotor methylation), were related to progression-free survival (PFS), malignant transformation-free survival (MTFS) and overall survival (OS).

RESULTS: Sixteen of seventy-four LGGs (21.6%) fluoresced. Fluorescence was partially related to weak enhancement on magnetic resonance imaging and increased (positron emission tomography)PET-FET uptake, but not to Karnofsky Performance Score, tumor size, or age. Regarding molecular markers, only EGFR expression differed marginally (fluorescing vs nonfluorescing: 19% vs 5%; P = .057). Median follow-up was 46.4 mo (95% confidence interval [CI]: 41.8-51.1). PFS, MTFS, and OS were shorter in fluorescing tumors (PFS: median 9.8 mo, 95% CI: 1.00-27.7 vs 45.8, 31.9-59.7, MTFS: 43.0 [27.5-58.5] vs 64.6 [57.7- 71.5], median not reached, P = .015; OS: 51.6, [34.8-68.3] vs [68.2, 62.7-73.8], P = .002). IDH mutations significantly predicted PFS, MTFS, and OS. In multivariate analysis IDH status and fluorescence both independently predictedMTFS and OS. PFSwas not independently predicted by fluorescence.

CONCLUSION: This is the first report investigating the role of ALA-induced fluorescence in histologically confirmed LGG. Fluorescence appeared to be a marker for inherent malignant transformation and OS, independently of known prognostic markers. Fluorescence in LGG might be taken into account when deciding on adjuvant therapies.