Theragnostic imaging for radiation oncology: dose-painting by numbers

Lancet Oncol. 2005 Feb;6(2):112-7. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(05)01737-7.


Theragnostic imaging for radiation oncology is the use of molecular and functional imaging to prescribe the distribution of radiation in four dimensions-the three dimensions of space plus time-of radiotherapy alone or combined with other treatment modalities in an individual patient. Several new imaging targets for positron-emission tomography, single-photon-emission CT, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy allow variations in microenvironmental or cellular phenotypes that modulate the effect of radiation to be mapped in three dimensions. Dose-painting by numbers is a strategy by which the dose distribution delivered by inverse planned intensity-modulated radiotherapy is prescribed in four dimensions. This approach will revolutionise the way that radiotherapy is prescribed and planned and, at least in theory, will improve the therapeutic outcome in terms of local tumour control and side-effects to unaffected tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / standards
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Dosage