Harnessing Preclinical Molecular Imaging to Inform Advances in Personalized Cancer Medicine

J Nucl Med. 2017 May;58(5):689-696. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.116.181693. Epub 2017 Apr 6.


Comprehensive molecular analysis of individual tumors provides great potential for personalized cancer therapy. However, the presence of a particular genetic alteration is often insufficient to predict therapeutic efficacy. Drugs with distinct mechanisms of action can affect the biology of tumors in specific and unique ways. Therefore, assays that can measure drug-induced perturbations of defined functional tumor properties can be highly complementary to genomic analysis. PET provides the capacity to noninvasively measure the dynamics of various tumor biologic processes in vivo. Here, we review the underlying biochemical and biologic basis for a variety of PET tracers and how they may be used to better optimize cancer therapy.

Keywords: PET imaging tracers; early response biomarkers; personalized cancer therapy; pharmacodynamic imaging; precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / trends
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging / trends*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / trends*
  • Precision Medicine / trends
  • Translational Medical Research / trends


  • Biomarkers, Tumor