Molecular imaging by mass spectrometry--looking beyond classical histology

Nat Rev Cancer. 2010 Sep;10(9):639-46. doi: 10.1038/nrc2917. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) is a new and effective tool for molecular studies of complex biological samples such as tissue sections. As histological features remain intact throughout the analysis of a section, distribution maps of multiple analytes can be correlated with histological and clinical features. Spatial molecular arrangements can be assessed without the need for target-specific reagents, allowing the discovery of diagnostic and prognostic markers of different cancer types and enabling the determination of effective therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Proteome