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Evidence to Improve Care

5-Aminolevulinic Acid Hydrochloride (5-ALA)–Guided Surgical Resection of High-Grade Gliomas

Draft Recommendation

  • Health Quality Ontario, under the guidance of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends publicly funding 5-aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (5-ALA) for guiding maximal surgical resection of high-grade gliomas, conditional on Health Canada approval of the technology

Read the draft recommendation report

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High-grade gliomas are a type of fast-growing brain tumour. Treatment for high-grade gliomas involves surgery to remove as much of the tumour as safely as possible to help people feel better and live longer. Removing the brain tumour can be challenging because it is difficult for surgeons to see the difference between the tumour and healthy brain tissue during surgery.

5-aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (5-ALA) is a drug that is used to help surgeons see the tumour better during surgery and guide its removal. After 5-ALA is administered, areas of the tumour glow pink or red, and healthy brain tissue appears blue, when exposed to a special blue light during surgery.

This health technology assessment looked at how safe and effective 5-ALA–guided surgery is for people with high-grade gliomas. It also looked at the budget impact of publicly funding 5-ALA and the experiences, preferences, and values of an adult who had experience with high-grade glioma, standard surgical treatment, and 5-ALA–guided surgery.

Read the full Health Technology Assessment report for more information.


5-Aminolevulinic Acid Hydrochloride (5-ALA)–Guided Surgical Resection of High-Grade Gliomas: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
August 2019

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About Health Quality Ontario

Health Quality Ontario is the provincial lead on the quality of health care. We help nurses, doctors and other health care professionals working hard on the frontlines be more effective in what they do—by providing objective advice and data, and by supporting them and government in improving health care for the people of Ontario.

We focus on making health care more effective, efficient and affordable through a legislative mandate of:

  • Reporting to the public, organizations, government and health care providers on how the health system is performing,

  • Finding the best evidence of what works, and

  • Translating this evidence into clinical standards; recommendations to health care professionals and funders; and tools that health care providers can easily put into practice to make improvements.


For more information about Health Quality Ontario, visit hqontario.ca.


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