Angiogenesis is a critical process for tumor growth and metastatic dissemination. There is tremendous interest in the development of noninvasive methods for imaging tumor angiogenesis, and ultrasound (US) is an emerging platform technology to address this challenge. The introduction of intravascular microbubble contrast agents not only allows real-time visualization of tumor perfusion during an US examination, but they can be functionalized with specific ligands to permit molecular US imaging of angiogenic biomarkers that are overexpressed on the tumor endothelium. In this article, we will review current concepts and developing trends for US imaging of tumor angiogenesis, including relevant preclinical and clinicsal findings.
Keywords: angiogenesis; contrast agent; microbubble; molecular imaging; ultrasound.