Molecular imaging employs advanced imaging technologies to study the key molecules and molecular events that drive the malignant process. In particular, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is well suited to the molecular imaging of cancer in the clinic. The most common radiotracer for this purpose is (F-18) Fluorodeoxyglucose or FDG, and in the United States in 2006, it is estimated that more that 1,000,000 patients had a PET scan during the work-up of their cancer, especially lung, colon, head and neck, lymphoma, breast and brain cancers. FDG is a glucose analog, and FDG is avidly taken up by most human cancers, usually in proportion to their degree of malignancy. PET imaging with FDG is a powerful tool for accurately staging cancers, so that the best treatment is chosen. In addition, PET with FDG is useful in monitoring treatment response of anti-cancer therapies. Other agents also image important processes or molecules, including proliferation, (F-18) F-L-thymidine,(F-18) F-L-thymidine,and the expression of key molecules, such as integrins that occur during ike new blood vessels formation, or radioligands that target endocrine receptors (such as (F-18) Flourodihydrotestosterone for androgen receptor.) In the future, we anticipate non-invasive immunotypic of cancers with radiolabeled antibodies, such as Iodine-124 G250, and antibody which binds to carbonic andhydrase IX, a chronic hypoxia reactant protein. Under the right circumstances, specific gene expression can be imaged. In summary, the expanding capability molecular imaging allows for targeting of the molecules which underly the cancer phenotype and clinical applications, particularly in cancer pharmacology, are beginning to individualize cancer care and positively impact development of new cancer therapeutics.

98th AACR Annual Meeting-- Apr 14-18, 2007; Los Angeles, CA