One of the major challenges in surgical oncology is the intraoperative discrimination of tumoural versus healthy tissue. Until today, surgeons rely on visual inspection and palpation to define the tumoural margins during surgery and, unfortunately, for various cancer types, the local recurrence rate thus remains unacceptably high. Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging is an optical imaging technique that can provide real-time preoperative and intraoperative information after administration of a fluorescent probe that emits NIR light once exposed to a NIR light source. This technique is safe, cost-effective and technically easy. Several NIR fluorescent probes are currently studied for their ability to highlight neoplastic cells. In addition, NIR fluorescence imaging holds great promise for sentinel lymph node mapping. The aim of this manuscript is to provide a literature review of the current organic NIR fluorescent probes tested in the light of human oncology and to introduce fluorescence imaging as a valuable asset in veterinary oncology.
- Near-infrared fluorescence imaging
- organic near-infrared fluorescent contrast agents
- guided oncologic surgery
- comparative oncology
- sentinel lymph node mapping
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KV and HR contributed equally.
Funding Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO) (grant number 1S 00717N).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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