Imaging and cancer: a review

Mol Oncol. 2008 Aug;2(2):115-52. doi: 10.1016/j.molonc.2008.04.001. Epub 2008 May 10.


Multiple biomedical imaging techniques are used in all phases of cancer management. Imaging forms an essential part of cancer clinical protocols and is able to furnish morphological, structural, metabolic and functional information. Integration with other diagnostic tools such as in vitro tissue and fluids analysis assists in clinical decision-making. Hybrid imaging techniques are able to supply complementary information for improved staging and therapy planning. Image guided and targeted minimally invasive therapy has the promise to improve outcome and reduce collateral effects. Early detection of cancer through screening based on imaging is probably the major contributor to a reduction in mortality for certain cancers. Targeted imaging of receptors, gene therapy expression and cancer stem cells are research activities that will translate into clinical use in the next decade. Technological developments will increase imaging speed to match that of physiological processes. Targeted imaging and therapeutic agents will be developed in tandem through close collaboration between academia and biotechnology, information technology and pharmaceutical industries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiation, Nonionizing
  • Tomography