Molecular imaging allows for the remote, noninvasive sensing and measurement of cellular and molecular processes in living subjects. Drawing upon a variety of modalities, molecular imaging provides a window into the biology of cancer from the subcellular level to the patient undergoing a new, experimental therapy. As signal transduction cascades and protein interaction networks become clarified, an increasing number of relevant targets for cancer therapy-and imaging-become available. Although conventional imaging is already critical to the management of patients with cancer, molecular imaging will provide even more relevant information, such as early detection of changes with therapy, identification of patient-specific cellular and metabolic abnormalities, and the disposition of therapeutic, gene-tagged cells throughout the body-all of which will have a considerable impact on morbidity and mortality. This overview discusses molecular imaging in oncology, providing examples from a variety of modalities, with an emphasis on emerging techniques for translational imaging.
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