5-ALA-mediated fluorescence of musculoskeletal tumors in a chick chorio-allantoic membrane model : Preclinical in vivo qualification analysis as a fluorescence-guided surgery agent in Orthopedic Oncology

Background: Fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) with 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) and other contrast agents has shown its efficacy in improving resection margins, local recurrence and survival rates in several medical disciplines. It is the objective of this study to analyze the engraftment rate of musculoskeletal tumor specimens on the chick chorio-allantoic membrane (CAM), the rate of tumor fluorescence (PDD), and the effects of photodynamic therapy (PDT) after exposure of tumors to 5-ALA in an in vivo environment.

Methods: A total of 486 CAMs were inoculated with macroscopic tumor grafts (n = 26; n = 478 eggs) and primary cell culture suspensions (n = 2; n = 8 eggs) from 26 patients on day 10 of egg development. On day 16, 2 mg/200 µl 5-ALA were topically applied per egg. After 4 h of incubation, Protoporphyrin IX was excited using blue light (420 ± 10 nm). Tumor fluorescence (PDD) was photo-documented. A subgroup of specimens was additionally exposed to red light (635 nm ± 10 nm; PDT). After the termination of the experiment, CAM-grown tumors were histopathologically analyzed.

Results: Benign and borderline tumors (chondroblastoma, giant cell tumor of bone and atypical chondrogenic tumor) presented with high rates of detectable fluorescence. Comparable results were found for chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma among bone and dedifferentiated liposarcoma, myxofibrosarcoma and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma among soft tissue sarcomas. Overall, tumor fluorescence was negative for 20.2%, single-positive (+) for 46.9% and double-positive (++) for 32.9% of macroscopic xenografts, and negative in 20% and (+) in 80% of primary cell culture tumors. Macroscopic tumor xenografts (n = 478) were identified as viable in 14.8%, partially viable in 2.9% and partially to completely regressive in 45.2%. All (n = 8) tumors grown from primary cell culture were viable. After PDT, tumor samples were found viable in 5.5%, partially viable in 5.5% and partially to completely regressive in 68%. Egg survival increased with decreasing PDT doses.

Conclusions: The CAM model proves to be a suitable in vivo model for the investigation of short-term observation questions in musculoskeletal tumors. The findings of this study warrant further investigation of PDT effects on musculoskeletal tumors and a possible incorporation of 5-ALA FGS in clinical Orthopedic Oncology care.


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