A study conducted by the pharmacy service of Sanchinarro University Hospital (HMS) has demonstrated the effectiveness of the use of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) in the visualization of malignant tissue during surgical resection of the malignant glioma, an aggressive brain tumor with a high recurrence rate and an unfavorable prognosis. The standard treatment for this type of tumor includes surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but the wider the resection, the greater the patient's survival options.

5-ALA acts by inducing fluorescence, which is significantly greater in glioma tissue than in the rest of brain tissue, and can be observed with a neurosurgical microscope. The emission of fluorescence can be red (which corresponds to strong and vital tumor tissue) and soft pink color (corresponding to infiltrating tumor cells).

The survival options of those affected by a malignant glioma are greater the wider the surgical resection

The work, called "The visualization of tumor tissue with 5-aminolevulinic acid in malignant glioma", involved the participation of 14 patients (seven of them under 40 years) diagnosed with malignant glioma (two of anaplastic astrocytoma, two more of anaplastic oligodendroglioma and ten of glioblastoma multiforme), to which 5-ALA (20 mg / kg) was administered orally, between two and four hours before the induction of anesthesia. The use of 5-ALA allowed much more complete brain tumor extraction, and the brain resonances performed after the intervention showed no visible tumor in any of the patients.

In addition, as confirmed by Miriam Sánchez Mateo, supervisor of the Pharmacy Service of Sanchinarro University Hospital, after administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid, all patients progressed favorably and without postoperative complications, and none required a hospital stay of more than ten days.


Extracellular vesicles released by glioblastoma cells: saboteurs, biomarkers and therapeutics (November 2019).