The lack of information regarding the metabolism and pathophysiology of individual tumors limits, in part, both the development of new anti-cancer therapies and the optimal implementation of currently available treatments. Magnetic resonance [MR, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)] provides a powerful tool to assess many aspects of tumor metabolism and pathophysiology. Moreover, since this information can be obtained nondestructively, pre-clinical results from cellular or animal models are often easily translated into the clinic. This review presents selected examples of how MR has been used to identify metabolic changes associated with apoptosis, detect therapeutic response prior to a change in tumor volume, optimize the combination of metabolic inhibitors with chemotherapy and/or radiation, characterize and exploit the influence of tumor pH on the effectiveness of chemotherapy, characterize tumor reoxygenation and the effects of modifiers of tumor oxygenation in individual tumors, image transgene expression and assess the efficacy of gene therapy. These examples provide an overview of several of the areas in which cellular and animal model studies using MR have contributed to our understanding of the effects of treatment on tumor metabolism and pathophysiology and the importance of tumor metabolism and pathophysiology as determinants of therapeutic response.