The standard method of diagnosing and follow-up of bladder cancer is white light cystoscopy. A cystoscope is a specialized endoscope allowing for direct visual inspection inside the bladder. The cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. On a nearby screen, the doctor is able to see a clear visualization of the bladder provided by an integrated camera in the cystoscope. Most cystoscopes have extra channels to guide other instruments for taking biopsies of suspicious areas or for the removal of non-muscle invasive bladder tumors.
Blue-light cystoscopy with Hexvix®When performing a blue-light cystoscopy, the doctor is able to experience an enhanced visual contrast between benign and malignant cells through a blue filter, which is integrated in the cystoscopic equipment, combined with the instillation of a drug one hour prior to the procedure. This drug contains a substance that penetrates rapidly proliferating cells, leading to the accumulation of fluorescent compounds within the tumor. Under subsequent blue-light illumination, the fluorescent compounds emit red light and enable specific and accurate visualization of the tumor.
The picture shows the inside of a bladder presenting with a flat tumor lesion. To the left you can see what it looks like in standard white light mode and to the right with the blue-light mode after drug instillation.