Background: We aimed to assess the possibility of detecting esophageal cancer after intravenous injection of indocyanine green (ICG) in preclinical and clinical models. Methods: Forty-five rabbits were surgically implanted with VX2 tumors into the esophageal muscular layer 2 weeks before esophagectomy. The rabbits received intravenous injection of ICG at doses of 1, 2, or 5 mg/kg at 3, 6, 12, 24, or 48 h before surgical removal of esophagus. Twelve patients scheduled to undergo esophagectomy were also enrolled, and all received 2 mg/kg of ICG intravenously at 3, 6, 12, or 24 h before surgical removal of esophagus. The fluorescence intensity was measured in all resected specimens from the rabbits and patients using a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging system after surgery. Results: Esophageal tumors were successfully established in all rabbits, and fluorescent signals were detected in all animal and patient specimens. Tumor-to-normal ratio (TNR) analysis showed that higher doses resulted in a greater TNR. Injection of at least 2 mg/kg of ICG was required for clear visualization of the tumor, and the TNR was highest at 12 h after injection. The TNR in patients was also highest at 12 h (P=0.0004), with 2 mg/kg of ICG. None of the patients had major complications following ICG injection. Conclusions: NIR fluorescence imaging can be used to visualize esophageal cancer after systemic injection of ICG. ICG at 2 mg/kg at 12 h is optimal for tumor detection. However, since the clinical trials were conducted in a small number of patients, further studies are needed in larger populations.
- Esophageal cancer
- Indocyanine green (ICG)
- Translational research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine