Ovarian cancer is the 5th highest cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. With an expected 22,000 or more new diagnoses during 2016, research is an important part of the fight. A recent small study provided promising results using a new type of fluorescent compound, and may be one more “win” in the battle against ovarian cancer.
Surgery is currently the best treatment for ovarian cancer. During surgery, the malignant tumor is removed in hopes of stopping the spread of the cancer. The best possible outcome for survival and a healthy recovery is for the surgeon to be able to see and remove any and all signs of cancer.
The challenge for the surgeon then, is to see the tumor with the naked eye and be able to remove all signs of cancer. This new digital imaging technique may help surgeons locate more ovarian tumor tissue, which hopefully will increase the survival rates for ovarian cancer.
The promising new technique being studied is called near-infrared fluorescence imaging, or NIR fluorescence imaging. NIR imaging uses a tumor-specific fluorescent agent along with a dedicated imaging system. It detects the fluorescent signal coming from the tumor. This allows the surgeon to discover any malignant tissue that may be deeper and would have gone unnoticed by the naked eye during cytoreduction, the surgical procedure in which the doctor removes the cancer cells.
The tumor-specific fluorescent agent is called OTL38 and is a combination of NIR fluorescent dye and a folate analog. OTL38 binds to a protein called folate receptor-alpha (FRα), which is expressed at a higher level in more than 90% of ovarian tumor tissue than in healthy tissue.
The results of the study using the NIR fluorescence imaging and new cytoreduction procedure allowed 29% additional malignant tissue to be removed by surgeons. This is a significant reduction and shows promising improvement in the ability for surgeons to remove more tumor tissue using this new imaging system. Larger and more long-term studies are necessary to show an increase in ovarian cancer survival rates.
At independent Imaging, our radiologists are board certified and fellowship trained in the latest imaging technology and continue to learn and grow in this ever-changing field. Nothing excites us more than to learn about a new way of treating our patients. We are pleased to have an educated and attentive staff that are eager to make your experience comfortable and stress free.
We offer four convenient digital imaging offices in Palm Beach County, Florida – all with easy parking and transportation services. Call us today at (561) 795-5558 or request an appointment online today.