Precis Future Med.  2019 Sep;3(3):116-123. 10.23838/pfm.2019.00072.

Precision surgery for cancer: a new surgical concept in individual tumor biology-based image-guided surgery

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The National Armed Forces Capital Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Surgery has long been a cornerstone of cancer treatment in many types of cancer. Traditionally, intraoperative assessment of the resection margin is largely dependent on visual inspection and palpation of tumors, with the aid of frozen section analysis. Although preoperative imaging can provide gross anatomical information, in situ translation of these images to the operation field is challenging. With the advancement of molecular imaging technology and its clinical application, the gap between preoperative radiologic images and surgical findings has been reduced through image-guided surgery. However, the imaging probes for intraoperative visualization of tumors are not individual tumor-specific. As conventional oncology has moved toward precision oncology with genomic and biological information specific to each tumor, image-guided surgery should also shift toward tumor biology-based image-guided surgery, so-called precision surgery for cancer. In precision cancer surgery, tumors should be analyzed molecularly and genetically to select the optimal imaging probes for individual tumors before surgical resection, beyond the use of predetermined imaging probes for certain types of cancer. This will raise the likelihood of meeting the surgical goals of cancer treatment. In summary, precision cancer surgery can be defined as individual tumor biology-based image-guided surgery.


Molecular imaging; Neoplasms; Precision oncology; Surgery; Surgery, computer-assisted

MeSH Terms

Frozen Sections
Molecular Imaging
Surgery, Computer-Assisted*
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