Current and Future Imaging Methods for Evaluating Response to Immunotherapy in Neuro-Oncology

Theranostics. 2019 Jul 9;9(17):5085-5104. doi: 10.7150/thno.34415. eCollection 2019.


Imaging plays a central role in evaluating responses to therapy in neuro-oncology patients. The advancing clinical use of immunotherapies has demonstrated that treatment-related inflammatory responses mimic tumor growth via conventional imaging, thus spurring the development of new imaging approaches to adequately distinguish between pseudoprogression and progressive disease. To this end, an increasing number of advanced imaging techniques are being evaluated in preclinical and clinical studies. These novel molecular imaging approaches will serve to complement conventional response assessments during immunotherapy. The goal of these techniques is to provide definitive metrics of tumor response at earlier time points to inform treatment decisions, which has the potential to improve patient outcomes. This review summarizes the available immunotherapy regimens, clinical response criteria, current state-of-the-art imaging approaches, and groundbreaking strategies for future implementation to evaluate the anti-tumor and immune responses to immunotherapy in neuro-oncology applications.

Keywords: MRI; PET; imaging; immunotherapy; neuro-oncology; response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine / trends