PET Imaging of Angiogenesis

PET Clin. 2009 Jan 1;4(1):17-38. doi: 10.1016/j.cpet.2009.04.011.


Angiogenesis is a highly-controlled process that is dependent on the intricate balance of both promoting and inhibiting factors, involved in various physiological and pathological processes. A comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate angiogenesis has resulted in the design of new and more effective therapeutic strategies. Due to insufficient sensitivity to detect therapeutic effects by using standard clinical endpoints or by looking for physiological improvement, a multitude of imaging techniques have been developed to assess tissue vasculature on the structural, functional and molecular level. Imaging is expected to provide a novel approach to noninvasively monitor angiogenesis, to optimize the dose of new antiangiogenic agents and to assess the efficacy of therapies directed at modulation of the angiogenic process. All these methods have been successfully used preclinically and will hopefully aid in antiangiogenic drug development in animal studies. In this review article, the application of PET in angiogenesis imaging at both functional and molecular level will be discussed. For PET imaging of angiogenesis related molecular markers, we emphasize integrin alpha(v)beta(3), VEGF/VEGFR, and MMPs.