Mass Spectrometry Imaging in Cancer Research: Future Perspectives

Adv Cancer Res. 2017;134:283-290. doi: 10.1016/bs.acr.2016.11.010. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


In the last decade mass spectrometry imaging has developed rapidly, in terms of multiple new instrumentation innovations, expansion of target molecules, and areas of application. Mass spectrometry imaging has already had a substantial impact in cancer research, uncovering biomolecular changes associated with disease progression, diagnosis, and prognosis. Many new approaches are incorporating the use of readily available formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded cancer tissues from pathology centers, including tissue blocks, biopsy specimens, and tumor microarrays. It is also increasingly used in drug formulation development as an inexpensive method to determine the distributions of drugs and their metabolites. In this chapter, we offer a perspective in the current and future methodological developments and how these may open up new vistas for cancer research.

Keywords: Biomarker; Cancer research; Mass spectrometry imaging; Perspectives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor