Molecular imaging of metastatic potential

J Nucl Med. 2008 Jun;49 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):96S-112S. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.107.045948.


If molecular imaging is to prove clinically useful it will have to surpass current, primarily anatomic techniques in terms of sensitivity and the ability to detect minimal changes in tissue. One of the most important tests for molecular imaging is to determine whether it can image the metastatic potential of tumors. Like all predictive endeavors, the imaging of such "potential" is a daunting task, but one that only molecular imaging--rather than standard, anatomic techniques--is likely to solve. Although difficult, imaging of metastatic potential is also arguably the most important task for molecular imaging of cancer because it is generally the dissemination of malignant tissue, not its prolonged residence in an inopportune site, which kills the patient. Below are examples of uses of molecular imaging of metastases as well as of metastatic potential, the former being a far more developed area of clinical inquiry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Movement
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Radiopharmaceuticals