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The precise delineation and excision of brain tumor extent allows to improve survival outcome and quality of life of surgically treated patients. In order to refine the resection of gliomas, we are developing a novel intraoperative probe specifically dedicated to the localization of residual tumor after the bulk has been excised. The probe, built around clear and plastic scintillating fibers, was designed to detect positrons emitted from radiolabeled brain tissue in order to discriminate more specifically neoplastic from normal tissues. The probe was also built to be directly coupled to the excision tool leading to simultaneous detection and removal of tumor. We report here performances of the first radio-isotopic configuration of the intraoperative probe which consists of a detection head composed of eight detection elements held around the excision tool in a closed packed annular arrangement. This head is coupled to an optic fiber bundle that exports the scintillating light to a multi-channel photomultiplier tube. The gamma ray background generated by the annihilation of beta+ in tissues is eliminated by a real-time subtraction method. The detector exhibits a beta sensitivity of 139 cps/kBq and a gamma ray rejection efficiency of 99.5%. The ability of the probe to detect residual lesions was evaluated with a realistic brain phantom representing the surgical cavity and the boundaries of the tumor. We showed that lesions as small as 5 mm in diameter can be detected for tumor to normal tissue uptake ratios of fluorinated tracers greater than 3.5. This ratio is achieved with radiopharmaceuticals like 18F-FET or 18F-choline. These promising results suggest that the features of our system are compatible with in situ localization of residual radiolabeled tumors.
Date of Publication: June 2008