Rosenthal Lab

Research Light Guided Surgery

For a surgical oncologist, the most commonly asked question by patients after an operation is, “Did you get all the cancer?”  The answer is most commonly, “I removed everything I could see.

Removing Tumors with Fluorescent Dye

Light Guided Surgery uses fluorescent markers that light up the tumor during surgery. 

We are currently investigating if this approach will help surgeons to remove tumor tissue. 

Today, surgeons rely on their vision and touch to assess what should be removed during tumor resection; however, 15-30% of all head and neck cancer patients leave the operation room with tumor cells left behind. For these patients, the chances of tumor recurrence are high and overall survival low.

We are currently investigating if Light Guided Surgery could help solve this problem.


How We Investigate in LGS

1) Infusion of fluorescent dye that reaches the tumor.

2) The tumor will light up with a special camera during surgery.

3) The surgeon will outline the tumor.

4) The surgeon will remove the tumor.

5) After tumor resection, the surgeon checks the wound bed for remaining cancer.

6) The tumor is removed.

Examples of how LGS could potentially change surgery in the future

Assessment of tumor extent

25% of patients leave the operation room with tumor cells left behind.


Detection of a second tumor

Second tumors represent the second leading cause of death in head and neck cancer patients.


Patient Information

At Stanford, we are establishing Light Guided Surgery as tomorrows standard of care. Patients who are eligible can potentially join the research. To find out if you are eligible please contact your doctor. Currently, we are including patients in the following clinical trials: Brain Cancer, Head & Neck Cancer, Lung Cancer & Pancreas Cancer.

To be considered for these trials you must be:

  • Be 19 years or older
  • Not be pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have a biopsy-proven diagnosis of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the head and neck
  • Be planned for standard of care surgery of the tumor
  • Be determined a suitable candidate for the clinical trial by your physician


About Us

Dr. Rosenthal Team

Dr. Rosenthal

Dr. Rosenthal is committed to improve survival for patients that undergo surgery for cancer. As a surgeon-scientist, he has the unique opportunity to act as a direct bridge between science and the patient. He specializes in the treatment of head and neck cancer patients and has a strong interest in the development of imaging modalities to enhance successful tumor removal in all cancer types.

With a team of medical doctors, post-doctoral students and visiting scholars from all over the world, professor E. Rosenthal is working hard to take Light Guided Surgery into clinical practice.


Contact the Lab

Eben Rosenthal
Professor and Medical Director Stanford Cancer Center

Heather Restificar
Administrative assistant

Roan Raymundo
Study Coordinator

Subject: Study Trial NCT02741470

Tel: (650)–723–1423