Over the last several decades, development of various imaging techniques such as computed tomography, magnetic
resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography greatly facilitated the early detection of cancer. Another important
aspect that is closely related to the survival of cancer patients is complete tumor removal during surgical resection.
The major obstacle in achieving this goal is to distinguish between tumor tissue and normal tissue during surgery. Currently,
tumor margins are typically assessed by visual assessment and palpation of the tumor intraoperatively. However,
the possibility of microinvasion to the surrounding tissues makes it difficult to determine an adequate tumor-free excision
margin, often forcing the surgeons to perform wide excisions including the healthy tissue that may contain vital structures.
It would be ideal to remove the tumor completely, with minimal safety margins, if surgeons could see precise tumor margins
during the operation. Molecular imaging with optical techniques can visualize the tumors via fluorophore conjugated
probes targeting tumor markers such as proteins and enzymes that are upregulated during malignant transformation. Intraoperative
use of this technique may facilitate complete excision of the tumor and tumor micromasses located beyond
the visual capacity of the naked eye, ultimately improving the clinical outcome and survival rates of cancer patients.
Keywords: Cancer, Cerenkov luminescence, Image-guided surgery, Intraoperative imaging, Molecular imaging, Optical imaging,
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