Neurosurg Rev (2012) 35:381–391 DOI 10.1007/s10143-012-0374-5
Stereotactic biopsies represent a routine neurosurgical procedure for the diagnosis of intracranial lymphomas and selected diffusely infiltrating gliomas. Acquisition of tissue samples that do not allow correct tumor typing and grading is, however, not uncommon. Five-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) has been shown to accumulate in malignant tumor tissue. The aim of this study was to prospectively investigate the clinical usability of 5-ALA for intraoperative detection of representative tissue in stereotactic tumor biopsies.
Fifty consecutive patients underwent frameless stereotactic biopsy for a suspected brain tumor. 5-ALA was administered 4 h before anesthesia. Serial biopsy samples were obtained and intraoperatively checked for 5-ALA fluorescence (strong, vague, or none) using a modified neurosurgical microscope. All samples were examined for the presence of representative tumor tissue according to neuroimaging (MRI, positron emission tomography, and/or chemical shift imaging) and histopathological parameters.
Visible 5-ALA fluorescence was observed in 43/50 patients (strong in 39 and vague fluorescence in four cases). At biopsy target, 52/53 samples of glioblastomas, 9/10 samples of gliomas grade III, and 14/16 samples of lymphomas revealed strong 5-ALA fluorescence. Samples with strong 5-ALA fluorescence were only observed at, but not outside the biopsy target. All tissue samples with strong 5-ALA fluorescence were representative according to our neuroimaging and histopathological criteria (positive predictive value of 100%). Our data indicate that strong 5-ALA fluorescence is a reliable and immediately available intraoperative marker of representative tumor tissue of malignant gliomas and intracranial lymphomas in stereotactic biopsies. Thereby, the application of 5- ALA in stereotactic brain tumor biopsies may in future reduce costs for operating room and neuropathology and may decrease procedure-related morbidity.
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