Purpose: We present a review of radionuclide imaging of tumour vascular physiology as it relates to angiogenesis. We focus on clinical trials in human subjects using PET and SPECT to evaluate tumour physiology, in particular blood flow and hypoxia.
Methods: A systematic review of literature based on MEDLINE searches updated in February 2010 was performed.
Results: Twenty-nine studies were identified for review: 14 dealt with (15)O-water PET perfusion imaging, while 8 dealt with (18)F-fluoromisonidazole PET hypoxia imaging. Five used SPECT methods. The studies varied widely in technical quality and reporting of methods.
Conclusions: A subset of radionuclide methods offers accurate quantitative scientific observations on tumour vascular physiology of relevance to angiogenesis and its treatment. The relationship between cellular processes of angiogenesis and changing physiological function remains poorly defined. The promise of quantitative functional imaging at high specificity and low administered dose sustains interest in radionuclide methods.