Optimisation of fluorescence guidance during robot-assisted laparoscopic sentinel node biopsy for prostate cancer

Eur Urol. 2014 Dec;66(6):991-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2014.07.014. Epub 2014 Aug 3.


Background: The hybrid tracer was introduced to complement intraoperative radiotracing towards the sentinel nodes (SNs) with fluorescence guidance.

Objective: Improve in vivo fluorescence-based SN identification for prostate cancer by optimising hybrid tracer preparation, injection technique, and fluorescence imaging hardware.

Design, setting, and participants: Forty patients with a Briganti nomogram-based risk >10% of lymph node (LN) metastases were included. After intraprostatic tracer injection, SN mapping was performed (lymphoscintigraphy and single-photon emission computed tomography with computed tomography (SPECT-CT)). In groups 1 and 2, SNs were pursued intraoperatively using a laparoscopic gamma probe followed by fluorescence imaging (FI). In group 3, SNs were initially located via FI. Compared with group 1, in groups 2 and 3, a new tracer formulation was introduced that had a reduced total injected volume (2.0 ml vs. 3.2 ml) but increased particle concentration. For groups 1 and 2, the Tricam SLII with D-Light C laparoscopic FI (LFI) system was used. In group 3, the LFI system was upgraded to an Image 1 HUB HD with D-Light P system.

Intervention: Hybrid tracer-based SN biopsy, extended pelvic lymph node dissection, and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Number and location of the preoperatively identified SNs, in vivo fluorescence-based SN identification rate, tumour status of SNs and LNs, postoperative complications, and biochemical recurrence (BCR).

Results and limitations: Mean fluorescence-based SN identification improved from 63.7% (group 1) to 85.2% and 93.5% for groups 2 and 3, respectively (p=0.012). No differences in postoperative complications were found. BCR occurred in three pN0 patients.

Conclusions: Stepwise optimisation of the hybrid tracer formulation and the LFI system led to a significant improvement in fluorescence-assisted SN identification. Preoperative SPECT-CT remained essential for guiding intraoperative SN localisation.

Patient summary: Intraoperative fluorescence-based SN visualisation can be improved by enhancing the hybrid tracer formulation and laparoscopic fluorescence imaging system.

Keywords: Fluorescence-guided surgery; Hybrid approach; Hybrid tracer; Image-guided surgery; Prostate cancer; Radio-guided surgery; Sentinel (lymph) node.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coloring Agents*
  • Fluorescence
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / methods*
  • Indocyanine Green*
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphoscintigraphy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Optical Imaging / instrumentation
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Pelvis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Aggregated Albumin*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Coloring Agents
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Aggregated Albumin
  • technetium Tc 99m nanocolloid
  • Indocyanine Green