We previously developed γ-glutamyl hydroxymethyl rhodamine green (gGlu-HMRG) as a tool to detect viable cancer cells, based on the fact that the enzyme γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT) is overexpressed on membranes of various cancer cells, but is not expressed in normal tissue. Cleavage of the probe by GGT generates green fluorescence. Here, we examined the feasibility of clinical application of gGlu-HMRG during breast-conserving surgery. We found that fluorescence derived from cleavage of gGlu-HMRG allowed easy discrimination of breast tumors, even those smaller than 1 mm in size, from normal mammary gland tissues, with 92% sensitivity and 94% specificity, within only 5 min after application. We believe this rapid, low-cost method represents a breakthrough in intraoperative margin assessment during breast-conserving surgery.
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