Genomic biomarkers for molecular imaging: predicting the future

Semin Nucl Med. 2009 Jul;39(4):236-46. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2009.03.006.


Over the past few decades, great strides have been made in anatomical imaging of disease that has led to their diagnosis with minimal invasion. Despite these advances, diseases such as cancer continue to take one human life every minute in the United States. Complimentary approaches that pertain directly to the genesis of the disease might contribute to its early diagnosis and subsequent management. In cancer, an array of molecular abnormalities leading to the modulations in expression of key proteins important in the cellular signaling pathways and cell proliferation has been identified. These specific disease fingerprints, biomarkers, are overexpressed on malignant cell surfaces or within the cytoplasm, and they provide unique targets that are promising for improving cancer diagnosis and therapy. We and others have designed, synthesized, and evaluated some novel probes specific for those oncogenes and oncogene product biomarkers for PET and SPECT molecular imaging of certain types of cancers. This article briefly describes this approach and gives specific examples that depict the ability of molecular imaging to detect occult lesions not detectable by current scintigraphic approaches. The article also outlines a few examples predicting other possible applications of targeting such specific probes not yet used.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / trends*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy


  • Biomarkers, Tumor