Fluorescence-guided resection of glioblastoma multiforme by using high-dose fluorescein sodium. Technical note

J Neurosurg. 2003 Sep;99(3):597-603. doi: 10.3171/jns.2003.99.3.0597.


The authors have recently performed a fluorescence-guided tumor resection procedure by using high-dose fluorescein sodium without any special surgical microscopes for the intraoperative visualization of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and they report on the actual procedure and clinicopathological findings. Thirty-two patients with GBMs underwent tumor resection during which this fluorescence-guided procedure was used. Fluorescein sodium (20 mg/kg) was intravenously injected after dural opening at the craniotomy site. The tumor was stained almost homogeneously yellow and the color was intense enough to be readily perceived for resection. The center of the solid lesion was stained a deep yellow and surrounded by a transition zone that was faintly stained. The colored lesion was clearly distinguishable from the unstained zone outside the GBM, particularly in the white matter. Both the deeply and faintly stained regions included endothelial proliferation and dense tumor cells. In the unstained region, less dense tumor cells were consistently revealed; however, no endothelial proliferation could be seen. Gross-total resection (GTR) was successful in 84.4% of the patients who received an injection of fluorescein sodium, which accounted for 100% of those in whom all the visible yellow color (both the deeply and faintly stained regions) was judged to have been resected during operation. Gross-total resection was performed in 100% of the patients who underwent the fluorescence-guided procedure and assigned to Stage I, a GBM stage in which, as a therapeutic policy, the tumor should be resected as radically as possible. The GTR rates in patients who received fluorescein sodium were significantly higher than those in patients who did not (73 patients with GBMs who underwent tumor resection without the fluorescence-guided procedure). Although the extent of surgery was revealed to be one of the significant and independent prognostic factors for GBM, the fluorescein sodium-guided resection procedure was not a significant or independent prognostic factor in this series. This surgical procedure does not require any special surgical microscopic equipment and is simple, safe, useful, readily accomplished, and universally available for resection of GBMs. Its efficacy simplifies the surgical procedure of navigating the stained lesion from the unstained area to achieve GTR of GBMs, which can be demonstrated on magnetic resonance images.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein*
  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Glioblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Fluorescein