Demeclocycline as a contrast agent for detecting brain neoplasms using confocal microscopy

Phys Med Biol. 2015 Apr 7;60(7):3003-11. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/60/7/3003. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


Complete resection of brain tumors improves life expectancy and quality. Thus, there is a strong need for high-resolution detection and microscopically controlled removal of brain neoplasms. The goal of this study was to test demeclocycline as a contrast enhancer for the intraoperative detection of brain tumors. We have imaged benign and cancerous brain tumors using multimodal confocal microscopy. The tumors investigated included pituitary adenoma, meningiomas, glioblastomas, and metastatic brain cancers. Freshly excised brain tissues were stained in 0.75 mg ml(-1) aqueous solution of demeclocyline. Reflectance images were acquired at 402 nm. Fluorescence signals were excited at 402 nm and registered between 500 and 540 nm. After imaging, histological sections were processed from the imaged specimens and compared to the optical images. Fluorescence images highlighted normal and cancerous brain cells, while reflectance images emphasized the morphology of connective tissue. The optical and histological images were in accordance with each other for all types of tumors investigated. Demeclocyline shows promise as a contrast agent for intraoperative detection of brain tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Contrast Media*
  • Demeclocycline*
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Glioblastoma / diagnosis
  • Glioma / diagnosis
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Meningioma / diagnosis
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Optical Imaging
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Contrast Media
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Demeclocycline