Fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy for guided therapy of brain tumors

Pramod V. Butte, Adam N. Mamelak, Miriam A Nuno, Serguei I. Bannykh, Keith L. Black, Laura Marcu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


This study evaluates the potential of time-resolved laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy (TR-LIFS) as intra-operative tool for the delineation of brain tumor from normal brain. Forty two patients undergoing glioma (WHO grade I-IV) surgery were enrolled in this study. A TR-LIFS prototype apparatus (gated detection, fast digitizer) was used to induce in-vivo fluorescence using a pulsed N2 laser (337 nm excitation, 0.7 ns pulse width) and to record the time-resolved spectrum (360 - 550 nm range, 10 nm interval). The sites of TR-LIFS measurement were validated by conventional histopathology (H&E staining). Parameters derived from the TR-LIFS data including intensity values and time-resolved intensity decay features (average fluorescence lifetime and Laguerre coefficients values) were used for tissue characterization and classification. 71 areas of tumor and normal brain were analyzed. Several parameters allowed for the differentiation of distinct tissue types. For example, normal cortex (N = 35) and normal white matter (N = 12) exhibit a longer-lasting fluorescence emission at 390 nm (Τ390 = 2.12 ± 0.10 ns) when compared with 460 nm (Τ460 = 1.16 ± 0.08 ns). High grade glioma (grades III and IV) samples (N = 17) demonstrate emission peaks at 460 nm, with large variation at 390 nm while low grade glioma (I and II) samples (N = 7) demonstrated a peak fluorescence emission at 460 nm. A linear discriminant algorithm allowed for the classification of low-grade gliomas with 100% sensitivity and 98% specificity. High-grade glioma demonstrated a high degree of heterogeneity thus reducing the discrimination accuracy of these tumors to 47% sensitivity and 94% specificity. Current findings demonstrate that TR-LIFS holds the potential to diagnose brain tumors intra-operatively and to provide a valuable tool for aiding the neurosurgeon-neuropathologist team in to rapidly distinguish between tumor and normal brain during surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Glioma
  • In-vivo diagnosis
  • Time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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