Imaging radiation response in tumor and normal tissue.
Although X-ray computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the primary imaging modalities used in the clinic to monitor tumor response to radiation therapy, multi-modal molecular imaging may facilitate improved early and specific evaluation of this process. Fast and accurate imaging that can provide both quantitative and biological information is necessary to monitor treatment and ultimately to develop individualized treatment options for patients. A combination of molecular and anatomic information will allow for deeper insight into the mechanisms of tumor response, which will lead to more effective radiation treatments as well as improved anti-cancer drugs. Much progress has been made in nuclear medicine imaging probes and MRI techniques to achieve increased accuracy and the evaluation of relevant biomarkers of radiation response. This review will emphasize promising molecular imaging techniques that monitor various biological processes following radiotherapy, including metabolism, hypoxia, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis.