Perioperative PET/CT lymphoscintigraphy and fluorescent real-time imaging for sentinel lymph node mapping in early staged colon cancer

M. Ankersmit, O.S. Hoekstra, A. van Lingen, E. Bloemena, M.A.J.M. Jacobs, D.J. Vugts, H. J. Bonjer, G.A.M.S. van Dongen, W.J.H.J. Meijerink

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Using current optical imaging techniques and gamma imaging modalities, perioperative sentinel lymph node (SLN) identification in colon cancer can be difficult when the SLN is located near the primary tumour or beneath a thick layer of (fat) tissue. Sentinel lymph node mapping using PET/CT lymphoscintigraphy combined with real-time visualization of the SLN using near-infrared imaging has shown promising results in several types of cancer and may facilitate the successful identification of the number and location of the SLN in early colon cancer. Methods: Clinical feasibility of PET/CT lymphoscintigraphy using preoperative endoscopically injected [89Zr]Zr-Nanocoll and intraoperative injection of the near-infrared (NIR) tracer Indocyanine Green (ICG) was evaluated in ten early colon cancer patients. Three preoperative PET/CT scans and an additional ex vivo scan of the specimen were performed after submucosal injection of [89Zr]Zr-Nanocoll. All SLNs and other lymph nodes underwent extensive pathological examination for metastases. A histopathological proven lymph node visible at preoperative PET/CT and identified at PET/CT of the specimen was defined as SLN. Results: A total of 27 SLNs were harvested in seven out of eight patients with successful injection of both tracers. In one patient no SLNs were assigned preoperatively. In two patients injection of [89Zr]Zr-Nanocoll failed due to incorrect needle positioning. Twenty-one (78%) SLNs were found intraoperatively using NIR-imaging. Eleven of the 27 (41%) SLNs were located near the primary tumour (< 2 cm). Those six SLNs not found intraoperatively with NIR-imaging were all located close to the tumour. In all seven patients at least one SLN could be assigned at preoperative imaging 24 h after tracer administration. One SLN contained metastases detected by immunohistochemistry. No metastases were found in the non-SLNs. Conclusions: This study shows the potential of preoperative PET/CT lymphoscintigraphy to inform the surgeon about the number and location of SLNs in patients with early colon cancer. The additional use of NIR-imaging allows for intraoperative identification of these SLNs which are invisible with conventional white light imaging. Further research is necessary to improve and simplify the technique. We recommend perioperative SLN identification using a preoperative lymphoscintigraphy scan just before surgery approximately 24 h after injection. Additionally a postoperative scan of the specimen combined with intraoperative real-time NIR-imaging should be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1505
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


Funding This study was funded by the Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands. We thank R.C. Schuit, M.C. Huisman and M. Bolijn (department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, Amsterdam UMC?Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) for helping to prepare the clinical grade [89Zr]Zr-Nanocoll and assistance during the SLN procedures. We thank F. Stam (Department of Gastroenterology, Amsterdam UMC?Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) for assistance during the endoscopic injection of both tracers and J. Smoor for pathological examination of the specimen.

FundersFunder number
Department of Radiology


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