Background: In the past decade, there has been a major drive towards clinical translation of optical and, in particular, fluorescence imaging in surgery. In surgical oncology, radical surgery is characterized by the absence of positive resection margins, a critical factor in improving prognosis. Fluorescence imaging provides the surgeon with reliable and real-time intraoperative feedback to identify surgical targets, including positive tumour margins. It also may enable decisions on the possibility of intraoperative adjuvant treatment, such as brachytherapy, chemotherapy or emerging targeted photodynamic therapy (photoimmunotherapy).
Methods: This article reviews the use of optical imaging for intraoperative guidance and decision-making.
Results: Image-guided cancer surgery has the potential to be a powerful tool in guiding future surgical care. Photoimmunotherapy is a theranostic concept (simultaneous diagnosis and treatment) on the verge of clinical translation, and is highlighted as an effective combination of image-guided surgery and intraoperative treatment of residual disease. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography, a technique complementary to optical image-guided surgery, is currently being tested in humans and is anticipated to have great potential for perioperative and postoperative application in surgery.
Conclusion: Significant advances have been achieved in real-time optical imaging strategies for intraoperative tumour detection and margin assessment. Optical imaging holds promise in achieving the highest percentage of negative surgical margins and in early detection of micrometastastic disease over the next decade.
© 2015 BJS Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.