Assessment of human pancreas cancer tissue and precursor lesions via a fluorophore with inherent PDAC selectivity

Ian R. Munhenzva, Connor W. Barth, Martha Sibrian-Vazquez, Lei G. Wang, Jorge O. Escobedo, Summer L. Gibbs, Robert M. Strongin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The current five-year survival rate of <5% for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is compounded by late diagnosis, a lack of PDAC-specific intraoperative guidance to ensure complete resection, and the ineffectiveness of current therapies. Previously, utilizing compound 1, a fluorophore with inherent PDAC selectivity, PDAC was visualized both in vivo and ex vivo in a murine model. In the current study, human PDAC tissue is targeted. Compound 1 selectively stains ducts of the adenocarcinoma versus the surrounding stroma, enabling the imaging of PDAC in frozen tissue sections with high contrast. To enhance the potential of 1 for intraoperative applications, the ex vivo staining protocol was optimized for rapid margin assessment, with a final staining time of ~15 min. To measure diagnostic performance, the area under a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was measured for the identification of ductal adenocarcinoma vs. stroma. The bright fluorescence contrast enabled quantitative determination of PDAC (or precancerous PanIN lesions) versus healthy pancreas tissue in human tissue array samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019


  • Benzoxanthene
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Frozen section
  • PDAC
  • PanIN
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Tumor targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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