Background and objective Probe-based confocal laser endoscopy (pCLE) allows for real-time non-invasive histological imaging via bronchoscopy. Interpreting CLE images and correlating with traditional histopathology remains challenging. We performed an ex vivo study to evaluate the correlation between light microscopy findings and pCLE imaging of primary lung carcinoma. Methods Post-lobectomy specimens for lung cancer nodules were examined ex vivo by pCLE. The examined areas were marked with brilliant green dye, and the surrounding tissues were stained by methylene blue dye. Lung tissue segments were resected and histopathological specimens were generated with 50-μm thickness from the marked areas and stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Pathologists and pulmonologists reviewed the images for correlating features. Results Eighteen lobectomy specimens from 18 different patients were collected. Three primary features were observed in all samples using pCLE in the cancer surroundings: alveolar dystelectasis with thickening of alveolar walls, alveolar edema and a large amount of macrophages. The stromal and parenchymal components of the studied subtypes of non-small-cell lung cancer differed from each other. The stromal component for all nine adenocarcinoma specimens had a highly fluorescent field penetrated by dark hollows. All six squamous cell carcinoma specimens had the stromal component appeared as 'biparously' branching, highly fluorescent fibres. No stromal component was observed in any small-cell carcinoma specimen, and at low power field, the cellular component was dominant with an observed light scattering pattern. Conclusions pCLE can identify lung carcinoma in ex vivo samples. Certain light microscopy features of lung carcinoma can be visualized with pCLE. This study is an ex vivo comparison of images obtained by pCLE examination of lung cancer samples and light microscopy specimens prepared from the same samples. This is the first ex vivo trial of finding the confocal endomicroscopic characteristics of the different types of lung carcinoma.
- ex vivo confocal laser endomicroscopy
- light microscopy
- lung cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine