MRS and MRSI guidance in molecular medicine: targeting and monitoring of choline and glucose metabolism in cancer

NMR Biomed. 2011 Jul;24(6):673-90. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1751.


MRS and MRSI are valuable tools for the detection of metabolic changes in tumors. The currently emerging era of molecular medicine, which is shaped by molecularly targeted anticancer therapies combined with molecular imaging of the effects of such therapies, requires powerful imaging technologies that are able to detect molecular information. MRS and MRSI are such technologies that are able to detect metabolites arising from glucose and choline metabolism in noninvasive in vivo settings and at higher resolution in tissue samples. The roles played by MRS and MRSI in the diagnosis of different types of cancer, as well as in the early monitoring of the tumor response to traditional chemotherapies, are reviewed. The emerging roles of MRS and MRSI in the development and detection of novel targeted anticancer therapies that target oncogenic signaling pathways or markers in choline or glucose metabolism are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choline / chemistry
  • Choline / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Glucose
  • Choline