Antiangiogenic and antivascular agents provide new approaches to treating tumours. These may avoid many of the problems experienced with current approaches such as inherent and acquired resistance to treatment. Tumours do not grow beyond 1-2 mm(3) in size without the development of new vessels (Folkman, 1971). Such neo-vascularization (angiogenesis) allows tumour cells to increase their nutrient supply, survive and proliferate despite the new vessels often having structural and functional differences compared to normal tissue vasculature. Treatments targeted at tumour vasculature have produced impressive results in animal models (Lindsay et al, 1996; Watson et al, 1996; O'Reilly, 1997; Horsman et al, 1998). These therapies are now entering clinical trials. However, the successful introduction of these therapies into clinical practice will require the development of reliable ways to assess angiogenesis and its modification or inhibition in vivo. Here we discuss some of the emerging imaging techniques that may be useful.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com.