Background: Fluorescence confocal microscopy (FCM) is a novel micro-imaging technique providing optical sections of examined tissue. The method has been well established for the diagnosis of tumors in dermatological specimens.
Methods: We compare intraoperative diagnoses of the real-time application of FCM in pre-therapeutic prostate biopsies (35 patients, total number of biopsy specimens: n = 438) with the findings of conventional histology.
Results: Prostate carcinoma was reliably diagnosed in all patients. Depending on scan quality and experience of the examiner, smaller lesions of well differentiated carcinoma (ISUP1) could not be consistently differentiated from reactive changes. Furthermore, in some cases there was difficulty to distinguish ISUP grade 2 from ISUP grade 1 tumors. ISUP grades 3-5 were reliably detected in FCM.
Conclusions: Despite some limitations, FCM seems to be an effective tool for the timely assessment of prostate biopsies enabling reliable diagnosis of prostate cancer in patients requiring therapy.
Keywords: confocal microscopy; digital pathology; prostate cancer.