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Laparoscopic Surgeons Develop Fluorescent Light Technique to Improve Pancreatic Cancer Detection
Date:10/24/2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 80 percent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized, and by then the prognosis for long-term survival is dismal.  However, surgeons and scientists at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) are developing a laparoscopic technique that uses fluorescent light to improve pancreatic cancer staging and treatment.  Their findings were presented today at the 2011 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.

The UCSD researchers compared a standard xenon laparoscope with a laparoscope using a light emitting diode (LED) source.  Surgeons took two antibodies that are commonly expressed by pancreatic cancer and tagged them with a fluorescent marker, thus, making the cancerous tumors "light up" in colors of bright green or red, reported study leaders, Michael Bouvet, MD, FACS, and Robert M. Hoffman, Ph.D., both UCSD professors of surgery.

The surgeons and scientists then administered fluorescent antibodies into six-week old female mice.  The researchers were able to see primary and metastatic tumors more vividly with the LED light, at a sensitivity rate of 96 percent, than with traditional laparoscopy, which had a sensitivity rate of 40 percent.  Moreover, fluorescent laparoscopy rendered fewer false positives than traditional laparoscopy, and the researchers were able to clearly see the surrounding anatomy in the abdominal cavity of the mice.  Fluorescent laparoscopy was also sensitive enough to illuminate metastatic lesions smaller than one millimeter, which are not visible with a standard laparoscope.

"Laparoscopy is used for staging in patients with cancer, often before we make a big incision," said Dr. Bouvet.  "Now, we've made it even better with the LED light source.  We modified it so you can see both the normal background of the anatomy plus the fluorescent tumor signal at the same ti
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SOURCE American College of Surgeons
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