June 19, 2008 – At the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s 55th Annual Meeting held in New Orleans, French researchers presented a handheld perioperative compact imager (POCI), a gamma camera used to perform lymphoscintigraphy for sentinel lymph node (SLN) localization in breast cancer.
Used for the surgical treatment of breast cancer the mini camera, which is sensitive to tumor tissue, guides the work of a surgeon. The POCI imaging device is currently being assessed in the context of a "sentinel lymph node" protocol in breast cancers. In practice, the cancer is detected by injecting a radioactive solution around the tumor. Lymphoscintigraphy can then count the lymph nodes and situate them precisely. Finally, a biopsy is usually performed in the operating room using the radioactive counter probe, which allows the surgeon to check the position of the "sentinel lymph node" prior to making an incision, in order to identify it in the surgical wound and then, after ablation, to confirm the absence of any residual radioactivity.
Arising from an initial collaboration between physicists at IN2P3-CNRS, physicians at Hôpital Tenon in Paris and methodologists from Paris Public Hospitals (AP-HP), this gamma camera is currently being assessed in the operating room on 200 women with breast cancer. This study, which has already generated some more than encouraging results, shows the value of peroperative imaging techniques.