Neurology India
menu-bar5 Open access journal indexed with Index Medicus
  Users online: 1549  
 Home | Login 
About Editorial board Articlesmenu-bullet NSI Publicationsmenu-bullet Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe Videos Etcetera Contact
  Navigate Here 
 Resource Links
  »  Similar in PUBMED
 »  Search Pubmed for
 »  Search in Google Scholar for
  »  Article in PDF (352 KB)
  »  Citation Manager
  »  Access Statistics
  »  Reader Comments
  »  Email Alert *
  »  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this Article
 »  References

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded68    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents    
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 499-500

The application of intraoperative fluorescence utilizing 5-aminolevulinic acid in detection of residual cerebellar hemangioblastoma following visually assessed gross total resection

Department of Neurological Surgery, Mayo Clinic, AZ, USA

Date of Submission17-Apr-2011
Date of Decision17-Apr-2011
Date of Acceptance18-Apr-2011
Date of Web Publication30-Aug-2011

Correspondence Address:
Mark K Lyons
Department of Neurological Surgery Mayo Clinic Arizona, 5777 East Mayo Boulevard, Mayo Clinic Hospital 5 East, Phoenix, AZ 85054
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.84325

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Lyons MK. The application of intraoperative fluorescence utilizing 5-aminolevulinic acid in detection of residual cerebellar hemangioblastoma following visually assessed gross total resection. Neurol India 2011;59:499-500

How to cite this URL:
Lyons MK. The application of intraoperative fluorescence utilizing 5-aminolevulinic acid in detection of residual cerebellar hemangioblastoma following visually assessed gross total resection. Neurol India [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Dec 1];59:499-500. Available from:

Central nervous system hemangioblastomas account for approximately 2% of intracranial tumors and up to 10% of posterior fossa tumors. [1] These are benign tumors with an abundant vascular supply and occur mostly sporadically, but up to 30% are associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL). [2],[3] The tumors can be cystic or solid, majority of posterior fossa tumors are cystic and tumors arising in the brain stem and spinal cord are solid. [1],[4] Surgical techniques, neuroanesthesia and improved neuro-imaging have markedly reduced operative morbidity and mortality. The goal of surgical treatment is complete resection of the tumor. However, recurrence of the tumor at the original resection site is not uncommon. [2],[3] The use of orally administered 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), which is metabolized to protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) in the tumor cells, in intracranial tumor resection surgery has been well-documented. In addition, the photoxicity of PPIX has been utilized for photodynamic therapy as an adjunct tool in the treatment of brain tumors for many years. A recent report by Johansson and coworkers looked at the PPIX concentration in grade III versus grade IV gliomas. [5] They noted a large discrepancy in the distribution of the PPIX concentration within the grade IV tumors. The PPIX was noted to be much lower in the infiltration zones and necrotic areas of the tumor as compared to the more vital tumor components. [5] Whether this observation is related to the varying degree of vascularity in these heterogeneous areas of grade IV gliomas is a possibility. The application of this technique to cerebellar hemangioblastomas has not previously been reported in any case series.

Utsuki and colleagues report on their study of nine patients with cerebellar cystic hemangioblastomas utilizing intraoperative photodynamic 5-ALA to detect residual tumor following visually assessed gross total resection. [6] Protoporphyrin IX is the metabolite of 5-ALA which accumulates in tumor cells. Following visually confirmed gross total resection of the tumor, the resection cavity was irradiated with 405-nm excitation light using a semiconductor laser looking for any PPIX fluorescence, which would be consistent with residual tumor. In two of the nine cases, there was fluorescence of the cyst wall, not adjacent to the attachment of the tumor nodule, suggesting residual tumor cells. In both cases, there was histopathological confirmation of tumor cells in the additionally resected fluorescent cyst wall. This is an important observation, in that resection of the cyst wall at locations not at the attachment point of the tumor nodule is often not considered necessary when resecting cystic hemangioblastomas. The cyst wall is composed primarily of reactive non-neoplastic tissue. [3],[7],[8] Overall recurrence rates of hemangioblastomas are reported as high as 27%, and believed to most often be due to incomplete tumor nodule resection at the time of the initial surgery. [2],[3],[7] However, as Utsuki et al. points out there are cases of recurrent cystic cerebellar hemangioblastoma secondary to infiltration of tumor cells into the cyst wall. The rates of recurrence may be higher in patients with VHL, especially in those patients with solid tumors without a cystic component. [1] In addition, recurrences in VHL patients are often not at the site of the original tumor nodule.

The use of intraoperative indocyanine green fluorescence videography, more often applied to ophthalmological and aneurysm surgery, has also been used as an intraoperative tool for assessing complete extent of resection of spinal and cerebellar hemangioblastomas. [4] This technique, however, relies on the presence of the vascular blush to predict residual tumor as opposed to the direct uptake of the metabolite PPIX in the tumor cells. Consequently, the fluorescence of the tumor wall with 5-ALA may be more sensitive to residual tumor in cases of cystic cerebellar hemangioblastomas than indocyanine green despite its ability to visualize perforating arteries a millimeter or smaller in size. The authors conclude that using intraoperative photodynamic diagnosis via 5-ALA can aid in achieving a true gross total resection of the hemangioblastoma beyond what may be capable even with microscopically enhanced direct visual inspection.

 » References Top

1.Wan J, Cui H, Wang Y. Surgical management of large solid hemangioblastomas of the posterior fossa. J Clin Neurosci 2011;18:39-42.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Neumann HP, Eggert HR, Scheremet R, Schumacher M, Mohadjer M, Wakhloo AK, et al. Central nervous system lesions in von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1992;55:898-901.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Wanebo JE, Lonser RR, Glenn GM, Oldfield EH. The natural history of hemangioblastomas of the central nervous system in patients with von Hippel-Lindau disease. J Neurosurg 2003;98:82-94.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Murai Y, Adachi K, Matano F, Tateyama K, Teramoto A. Indocyanine green videoangiography study of hemangioblastomas. Can J Neurol Sci 2011;38:41-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Johansson A, Palte G, Schnell O, Tonn JC, Herms J, Stepp H. 5-Aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX levels in tissue of human malignant brain tumors. Photochem Photobiology 2010;86:1373-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Utsuki S, Oka H, Kijima C, Miyajima Y, Hagiwara H, Fujii K. Utility of intraoperative fluorescence diagnosis of residual hemangioblastoma using 5-aminolevulinic acid. Neurol India 2011;59:612-5  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Conway JE, Chou D, Clatterbuck RE, Brem H, Long DM, Rigamonti D. Hemangioblastomas of the central nervous system in von Hippel-Lindau syndrome and sporadic disease. Neurosurgery 2001;48:55-62.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT] San Pedro JR, Rodriguez FA, Niguez BF, Martinez-Lage JF, Lopez-Guerro AL, Murcia MF, et al. Massive hemorrhage in hemangioblastomas. Neurosurg Rev 2010;33:11-26.  Back to cited text no. 8


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow