Functional Imaging of Cancer with Emphasis on Molecular Techniques

Authors

  • Dr. Drew A. Torigian MD, MA,

    1. Torigian is Assistant Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
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      *Please note that these authors have contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Dr. Steve S. Huang MD, PhD,

    1. Huang is Nuclear Medicine Resident, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
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      *Please note that these authors have contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Dr. Mohamed Houseni MD,

    1. Houseni is Visiting Scholar in Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
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  • Dr. Abass Alavi MD

    1. Alavi is Professor of Radiology; and Director of Research Education, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.
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Abstract

A multitude of noninvasive, quantitative, functional imaging techniques are currently in use to study tumor physiology, to probe tumor molecular processes, and to study tumor molecules and metabolites in vitro and in vivo using computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasonography (US), positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and optical imaging (OI). Such techniques can be used in conjunction with structural imaging techniques to detect, diagnose, characterize, or monitor tumors before and after therapeutic intervention. These can also be used to study tumor gene expression, to track cells and therapeutic drugs, to optimize individualized treatment planning for patients with tumors, and to foster new oncologic drug development. In this article, we review the rich variety of functional imaging techniques that are available for these purposes, which are becoming increasingly important for optimal individualized patient treatment in this day and age of “personalized medicine.”

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