In a paper, Motekallemi et al., review the existing literature about the application of 5-ALA as an intraoperative tool for the resection of intracranial meningiomas. PubMed was used as the database for search tasks.
They included articles published in English without limitations regarding publication date. Tumor fluorescence can occur in benign meningiomas (WHO grade I) as well as in WHO grade II and WHO grade III meningiomas. Most of the reviewed studies report fluorescence of the main tumor mass with high sensitivity and specificity. However, different parts of the same tumor can present with a different fluorescent pattern (heterogenic fluorescence). Quantitative probe fluorescence can be superior, especially in meningiomas with difficult anatomical accessibility. However, only one study was able to consistently correlate resected tissue with histopathological results and nonspecific fluorescence of healthy brain tissue remains a confounder. The use of 5-ALA as a tool to guide resection of intracranial meningiomas remains experimental, especially in cases with tumor recurrence. The principle of intraoperative fluorescence as a real-time method to achieve complete resection is appealing, but the usefulness of 5-ALA is questionable. 5-ALA in intracranial meningioma surgery should only be used in a protocolled prospective and long-term study 1).
5-ALA was administered preoperatively to 190 patients undergoing resection of 204 intracranial meningiomas. The meningiomas' PpIX fluorescence status, fluorescence quality (strong or vague), and intratumoral fluorescence homogeneity were investigated during surgery. Additionally, specific sites, including the dural tail, tumor-infiltrated bone flap, adjacent cortex, and potential satellite lesions, were analyzed for PpIX fluorescence in selected cases.
PpIX fluorescence was observed in 185 (91%) of 204 meningiomas. In the subgroup of sphenoorbital meningiomas (12 of 204 cases), the dural part showed visible PpIX fluorescence in 9 cases (75%), whereas the bony part did not show any PpIX fluorescence in 10 cases (83%). Of all fluorescing meningiomas, 168 (91%) showed strong PpIX fluorescence. Typically, most meningiomas demonstrated homogeneous fluorescence (75% of cases). No PpIX fluorescence was observed in any of the investigated 89 dural tails. In contrast, satellite lesions could be identified through PpIX fluorescence in 7 cases. Furthermore, tumor-infiltrated bone flaps could be visualized by PpIX fluorescence in all 13 cases. Notably, PpIX fluorescence was also present in the adjacent cortex in 20 (25%) of 80 analyzed cases.
The authors' data from this largest patient cohort to date indicate that PpIX fluorescence enables intraoperatively visualization of most intracranial meningiomas and allows identification of residual tumor tissue at specific sites. Thus, intraoperative detection of residual meningioma tissue by PpIX fluorescence might in future reduce the risk of recurrence 2).