Theranostics 2014; 4(11):1072-1084. doi:10.7150/thno.9899


Intraoperative Imaging-Guided Cancer Surgery: From Current Fluorescence Molecular Imaging Methods to Future Multi-Modality Imaging Technology

Chongwei Chi1, Yang Du1, Jinzuo Ye1, Deqiang Kou3, Jingdan Qiu3, Jiandong Wang3, Jie Tian1✉, Xiaoyuan Chen2✉

1. Key Laboratory of Molecular Imaging of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China.
2. Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institute of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, 20892, USA.
3. Department of General Surgery, General Hospital of People's Liberation Army, Beijing 100853, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Chi C, Du Y, Ye J, Kou D, Qiu J, Wang J, Tian J, Chen X. Intraoperative Imaging-Guided Cancer Surgery: From Current Fluorescence Molecular Imaging Methods to Future Multi-Modality Imaging Technology. Theranostics 2014; 4(11):1072-1084. doi:10.7150/thno.9899. Available from

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Cancer is a major threat to human health. Diagnosis and treatment using precision medicine is expected to be an effective method for preventing the initiation and progression of cancer. Although anatomical and functional imaging techniques such as radiography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) have played an important role for accurate preoperative diagnostics, for the most part these techniques cannot be applied intraoperatively. Optical molecular imaging is a promising technique that provides a high degree of sensitivity and specificity in tumor margin detection. Furthermore, existing clinical applications have proven that optical molecular imaging is a powerful intraoperative tool for guiding surgeons performing precision procedures, thus enabling radical resection and improved survival rates. However, detection depth limitation exists in optical molecular imaging methods and further breakthroughs from optical to multi-modality intraoperative imaging methods are needed to develop more extensive and comprehensive intraoperative applications. Here, we review the current intraoperative optical molecular imaging technologies, focusing on contrast agents and surgical navigation systems, and then discuss the future prospects of multi-modality imaging technology for intraoperative imaging-guided cancer surgery.

Keywords: Optical molecular imaging, Intraoperative imaging-guided cancer surgery, Near-infrared fluorescence, Multi-modality Imaging, Indocyanine green.