Cytosolic phospholipase A2α (cPLA2α) has been shown to be elevated in breast cancer and is a potential biomarker in the differentiation of molecular sub-types. Using a cPLA2α activatable fluorophore, DDAO arachidonate, we explore its ability to function as a contrast agent in fluorescence-guided surgery. In cell lines ranging in cPLA2α expression and representing varying breast cancer sub-types, we show DDAO arachidonate activates with a high correlation to cPLA2α expression level. Using a control probe, DDAO palmitate, in addition to cPLA2α inhibition and genetic knockdown, we show that this activation is a result of cPLA2α activity. In mouse models, using an ex vivo tumor painting technique, we show that DDAO arachidonate activates to a high degree in basal-like versus luminal-like breast tumors and healthy mammary tissue. Finally, we show that using an in vivo model, orthotopic basal-like tumors give significantly high probe activation compared to healthy mammary fat pads and surrounding tissue. Together we conclude that cPLA2α activatable fluorophores such as DDAO arachidonate may serve as a useful contrast agent for the visualization of tumor margins in the fluorescence-guided surgery of basal-like breast cancer.