Molecular imaging focuses on the molecular signature of cells rather than morphological changes in the tissue. The need for this novel type of imaging arises from the often difficult detection and characterization especially of small and/or premalignant lesions. Molecular imaging specifically visualizes biological properties of a lesion and might thereby be able to close diagnostic gaps, e.g. when differentiating hyperplastic from neoplastic polyps or detecting the margins of intraepithelial neoplastic spread. Additionally, not only the detection and discrimination of lesions could be improved: based on the molecular features identified using molecular imaging, therapy regimens could be adjusted on the day of diagnosis to allow for personalized medicine and optimized care for each individual patient.
Keywords: Colorectal carcinoma; confocal laser endomicroscopy; endoscopy; gastric cancer; molecular imaging.