Intraoperative in vivo confocal laser endomicroscopy imaging at glioma margins: can we detect tumor infiltration?

J Neurosurg 140:357–366, 2024

Confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) is a US Food and Drug Administration–cleared intraoperative real-time fluorescence-based cellular resolution imaging technology that has been shown to image brain tumor histoarchitecture rapidly in vivo during neuro-oncological surgical procedures. An important goal for successful intraoperative implementation is in vivo use at the margins of infiltrating gliomas. However, CLE use at glioma margins has not been well studied.

METHODS Matching in vivo CLE images and tissue biopsies acquired at glioma margin regions of interest (ROIs) were collected from 2 institutions. All images were reviewed by 4 neuropathologists experienced in CLE. A scoring system based on the pathological features was implemented to score CLE and H&E images from each ROI on a scale from 0 to 5. Based on the H&E scores, all ROIs were divided into a low tumor probability (LTP) group (scores 0–2) and a high tumor probability (HTP) group (scores 3–5). The concordance between CLE and H&E scores regarding tumor probability was determined. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and diagnostic performance were calculated.

RESULTS Fifty-six glioma margin ROIs were included for analysis. Interrater reliability of the scoring system was excellent when used for H&E images (ICC [95% CI] 0.91 [0.86–0.94]) and moderate when used for CLE images (ICC [95% CI] 0.69 [0.40–0.83]). The ICCs (95% CIs) of the LTP group (0.68 [0.40–0.83]) and HTP group (0.68 [0.39–0.83]) did not differ significantly. The concordance between CLE and H&E scores was 61.6%. The sensitivity and specificity values of the scoring system were 79% and 37%. The positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value were 65% and 53%, respectively. Concordance, sensitivity, and PPV were greater in the HTP group than in the LTP group. Specificity was higher in the newly diagnosed group than in the recurrent group.

CONCLUSIONS CLE may detect tumor infiltration at glioma margins. However, it is not currently dependable, especially in scenarios where low probability of tumor infiltration is expected. The proposed scoring system has excellent intrinsic interrater reliability, but its interrater reliability is only moderate when used with CLE images. These results suggest that this technology requires further exploration as a method for consistent actionable intraoperative guidance with high dependability across the range of tumor margin scenarios. Specific-binding and/or tumor-specific fluorophores, a CLE image atlas, and a consensus guideline for image interpretation may help with the translational utility of CLE.

Confocal laser endomicroscopy in glial tumors—a histomorphological analysis

Neurosurgical Review (2024) 47:65

The extent of resection and neurological outcome are important prognostic markers for overall survival in glioma patients. Confocal laser endomicroscopy is a tool to examine tissue without the need for fixation or staining. This study aims to analyze gliomas in confocal laser endomicroscopy and identify reliable diagnostic criteria for glial matter and glial tumors.

Material and methods One-hundred-and-five glioma specimens were analyzed using a 670-nm confocal laser endomicroscope and then processed into hematoxylin-eosin-stained frozen sections. All confocal images and frozen sections were evaluated for the following criteria: presence of tumor, cellularity, nuclear pleomorphism, changes of the extracellular glial matrix, microvascular proliferation, necrosis, and mitotic activity. Recurring characteristics were identified. Accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were assessed for each feature.

Results All 125 specimens could be processed and successfully analyzed via confocal laser endomicroscopy. We found diagnostic criteria to identify white and grey matter and analyze cellularity, nuclear pleomorphism, changes in the glial matrix, vascularization, and necrosis in glial tumors. An accuracy of > 90.0 % was reached for grey matter, cellularity, and necrosis, > 80.0 % for white matter and nuclear pleomorphism, and > 70.0 % for microvascular proliferation and changes of the glial matrix. Mitotic activity could not be identified. Astroglial tumors showed significantly less nuclear pleomorphism in confocal laser endomicroscopy than oligodendroglial tumors (p < 0.001). Visualization of necrosis aids in the differentiation of low grade gliomas and high grade gliomas (p < 0.002).

Conclusion Autofluorescence-based confocal laser endomicroscopy proved not only useful in differentiation between tumor and brain tissue but also revealed useful clues to further characterize tissue without processing in a lab. Possible applications include the improvement of extent of resection and the safe harvest of representative tissue for histopathological and molecular genetic diagnostics.

Confocal laser endomicroscopy in glial tumors—a histomorphological analysis

Neurosurgical Review (2024) 47:65

The extent of resection and neurological outcome are important prognostic markers for overall survival in glioma patients. Confocal laser endomicroscopy is a tool to examine tissue without the need for fixation or staining. This study aims to analyze gliomas in confocal laser endomicroscopy and identify reliable diagnostic criteria for glial matter and glial tumors.

Material and methods One-hundred-and-five glioma specimens were analyzed using a 670-nm confocal laser endomicroscope and then processed into hematoxylin-eosin-stained frozen sections. All confocal images and frozen sections were evaluated for the following criteria: presence of tumor, cellularity, nuclear pleomorphism, changes of the extracellular glial matrix, microvascular proliferation, necrosis, and mitotic activity. Recurring characteristics were identified. Accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were assessed for each feature.

Results All 125 specimens could be processed and successfully analyzed via confocal laser endomicroscopy. We found diagnostic criteria to identify white and grey matter and analyze cellularity, nuclear pleomorphism, changes in the glial matrix, vascularization, and necrosis in glial tumors. An accuracy of > 90.0 % was reached for grey matter, cellularity, and necrosis, > 80.0 % for white matter and nuclear pleomorphism, and > 70.0 % for microvascular proliferation and changes of the glial matrix. Mitotic activity could not be identified. Astroglial tumors showed significantly less nuclear pleomorphism in confocal laser endomicroscopy than oligodendroglial tumors (p < 0.001). Visualization of necrosis aids in the differentiation of low grade gliomas and high grade gliomas (p < 0.002).

Conclusion Autofluorescence-based confocal laser endomicroscopy proved not only useful in differentiation between tumor and brain tissue but also revealed useful clues to further characterize tissue without processing in a lab. Possible applications include the improvement of extent of resection and the safe harvest of representative tissue for histopathological and molecular genetic diagnostics.

Intraoperative confocal laser endomicroscopy: prospective in vivo feasibility study of a clinical-grade system for brain tumors

J Neurosurg 138:587–597, 2023

The authors evaluated the feasibility of using the first clinical-grade confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) system using fluorescein sodium for intraoperative in vivo imaging of brain tumors.

METHODS A CLE system cleared by the FDA was used in 30 prospectively enrolled patients with 31 brain tumors (13 gliomas, 5 meningiomas, 6 other primary tumors, 3 metastases, and 4 reactive brain tissue). A neuropathologist classified CLE images as interpretable or noninterpretable. Images were compared with corresponding frozen and permanent histology sections, with image correlation to biopsy location using neuronavigation. The specificities and sensitivities of CLE images and frozen sections were calculated using permanent histological sections as the standard for comparison. A recently developed surgical telepathology software platform was used in 11 cases to provide real-time intraoperative consultation with a neuropathologist.

RESULTS Overall, 10,713 CLE images from 335 regions of interest were acquired. The mean duration of the use of the CLE system was 7 minutes (range 3–18 minutes). Interpretable CLE images were obtained in all cases. The first interpretable image was acquired within a mean of 6 (SD 10) images and within the first 5 (SD 13) seconds of imaging; 4896 images (46%) were interpretable. Interpretable image acquisition was positively correlated with study progression, number of cases per surgeon, cumulative length of CLE time, and CLE time per case (p ≤ 0.01). The diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of CLE compared with frozen sections were 94%, 94%, and 100%, respectively, and the diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of CLE compared with permanent histological sections were 92%, 90%, and 94%, respectively. No difference was observed between lesion types for the time to first interpretable image (p = 0.35). Deeply located lesions were associated with a higher percentage of interpretable images than superficial lesions (p = 0.02). The study met the primary end points, confirming the safety and feasibility and acquisition of noninvasive digital biopsies in all cases. The study met the secondary end points for the duration of CLE use necessary to obtain interpretable images. A neuropathologist could interpret the CLE images in 29 (97%) of 30 cases.

CONCLUSIONS The clinical-grade CLE system allows in vivo, intraoperative, high-resolution cellular visualization of tissue microstructure and identification of lesional tissue patterns in real time, without the need for tissue preparation.