Machine learning-based spectroscopic tissue differentiation in fluorescence-guided neurosurgery

David Black, Declan Byrne, Anna Walke, Sidong Liu, Antonio Di Ieva, Walter Stummer, Tim Salcudean, Eric Suero Molina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Maximal resection of malignant gliomas is hindered by difficulty in distinguishing tumor margins. Fluorescence-guided resection with 5-ALA assists in reaching this goal. Previously, we characterized five fluorophore emissions that accurately represent any spectrum measured from human brain tumor biopsies with a wide-field hyperspectral device. In this study, the effectiveness of these five spectra was explored for different tumor classification tasks in 891 hyperspectral widefield measurements of 184 patients harboring low- (n=30) and high-grade gliomas (n=115), non-glial primary brain tumors (n=19), radiation necrosis (n=2), miscellaneous (n=10) and metastases (n=8), which corresponds to up to 15000 spectra for a given test. The statistical differences in fluorophore abundances between classes were determined and visualized using dimensionality reduction techniques, including principal component analysis (PCA) and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE). Three machine-learning models were trained to classify tumor type (12 classes), grade (3 classes), and glioma margins (3 classes). Five algorithms were tested with varying hyperparameters for each classification task. We explored whether PCA projection onto five different axes than fluorophore abundances can provide more information for visualization and classification. The abundances of the five a priori fluorophore spectra matched or outperformed the five optimal PCA components for all classification tasks. These five axes capture 96-99% of the variance in the dataset. Using random forests and multilayer perceptrons, the classifiers achieved average test accuracies of 74-82%, 79%, and 81%, respectively. All five fluorophore abundances varied between tumor margin type as well as between grades (p < 0.01). For tissue type, at least four of five fluorophore abundances were found to be significantly different (p < 0.01) between all classes. These results demonstrate the differing contribution of fluorophores in different tissue classes tissue, as well as the five fluorophores value as potential optical biomarkers, opening new opportunities for intraoperative classification systems in fluorescence-guided neurosurgery.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberINNV-24
Pages (from-to)v161–v162
Number of pages2
Issue numberSupplement 5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2023
Event28th Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day of the Society for Neuro-Oncology - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 15 Nov 202319 Nov 2023


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