Label-Free Macroscopic Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of Brain Tumors

Maria Lukina, Konstantin Yashin, Elena E. Kiseleva, Anna Alekseeva, Varvara Dudenkova, Elena V. Zagaynova, Evgenia Bederina, Igor Medyanic, Wolfgang Becker, Deependra Mishra, Mikhail Berezin, Vladislav I. Shcheslavskiy, Marina Shirmanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Advanced stage glioma is the most aggressive form of malignant brain tumors with a short survival time. Real-time pathology assisted, or image guided surgical procedures that eliminate tumors promise to improve the clinical outcome and prolong the lives of patients. Our work is focused on the development of a rapid and sensitive assay for intraoperative diagnostics of glioma and identification of optical markers essential for differentiation between tumors and healthy brain tissues. We utilized fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) of endogenous fluorophores related to metabolism of the glioma from freshly excised brains tissues. Macroscopic time-resolved fluorescence images of three intracranial animal glioma models and surgical samples of patients’ glioblastoma together with the white matter have been collected. Several established and new algorithms were applied to identify the imaging markers of the tumors. We found that fluorescence lifetime parameters characteristic of the glioma provided background for differentiation between the tumors and intact brain tissues. All three rat tumor models demonstrated substantial differences between the malignant and normal tissue. Similarly, tumors from patients demonstrated statistically significant differences from the peritumoral white matter without infiltration. While the data and the analysis presented in this paper are preliminary and further investigation with a larger number of samples is required, the proposed approach based on the macroscopic FLIM has a high potential for diagnostics of glioma and evaluation of the surgical margins of gliomas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number666059
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - May 24 2021


  • FLIM
  • autofluorescence
  • fluorescence lifetime imaging
  • glioblastoma
  • image processing
  • rat glioma model


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