Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging poses significant superiority over traditional medical imaging for tumor resection, thus having attracted widely attention. However, for tiny tumor residues, it requires relative high sensitivity to determine. Here, based on persistent luminescence nanoparticles (PLNPs), an ultrasensitive nanoprobe with extraordinary tumor imaging result is developed to guide surgical removal. Persistent luminescence (PersL) is quenched in normal tissue by the outer layer of MnO , and is recovered due to the degradation of MnO in tumor microenvironment, significantly improving the sensitivity of tumor imaging. Combined with the absence of background fluorescence in imaging of PLNPs, ultrahigh sensitivity is achieved. In orthotopic breast cancer model, the intraoperative tumor-to-normal tissue (T/NT) signal ratio of the nanoprobe is 58.8, about 9 times that of downconversion nanoparticles. The T/NT ratio of residual tumor (<2 mm) remains 12.4, considerably high to distinguish tumor tissue from normal tissue. Besides, multiple-microtumor, 4T1 liver-implanted tumor and lung metastasis models are built to prove that this ultrasensitive nanoprobe is feasible to recognize tumor residues. Notably, PersL imaging takes only 1.5 min, appropriate to be applied for intraoperative imaging. Overall, an ultrasensitive and convenient imaging for recognizing residual tumor tissue is introduced, holding promise for complete surgical removal.
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