Mass General reduces 2nd breast cancer surgeries with fluorescent agent

Boston-based Mass General Cancer Center used fluorescent agent technology during breast cancer surgery to remove residual tumor cells and possibly prevent the need for secondary surgery.

The study, published April 27 in NEJM Evidence, included 406 patients at 14 sites. All patients underwent a lumpectomy for stages 1 to 3 invasive breast cancer and/or ductal in situ carcinoma. Surgeons used Lumicell's investigational optical imaging agent pegulicianine in fluorescence-guided surgery to identify residual tumor cells left by the standard lumpectomy procedures, according to a May 3 system news release. Fluorescence-guided surgery identified tumor tissue left behind in 27 of 357 patients.

"In our study, this intervention had a favorable effect for 10 percent of the patients that we studied. By evaluating margins in real time, surgeons can remove additional tissue immediately," corresponding author Barbara Smith, MD, PhD, director of the breast program at Mass General Cancer Center and head of the breast section in the department of surgery, said in the release.

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