Antibody-based imaging strategies for cancer

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2014 Sep;33(2-3):809-22. doi: 10.1007/s10555-014-9505-5.


Although mainly developed for preclinical research and therapeutic use, antibodies have high antigen specificity, which can be used as a courier to selectively deliver a diagnostic probe or therapeutic agent to cancer. It is generally accepted that the optimal antigen for imaging will depend on both the expression in the tumor relative to normal tissue and the homogeneity of expression throughout the tumor mass and between patients. For the purpose of diagnostic imaging, novel antibodies can be developed to target antigens for disease detection, or current FDA-approved antibodies can be repurposed with the covalent addition of an imaging probe. Reuse of therapeutic antibodies for diagnostic purposes reduces translational costs since the safety profile of the antibody is well defined and the agent is already available under conditions suitable for human use. In this review, we will explore a wide range of antibodies and imaging modalities that are being translated to the clinic for cancer identification and surgical treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diagnostic Imaging* / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Phototherapy
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Ultrasonography / methods


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal