The Role of Theragnostics in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review of the Last 12 Years

Curr Med Imaging. 2023;19(8):817-831. doi: 10.2174/1573405619666230216114748.


Background: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women, with high morbidity and mortality. Molecular alterations in breast cancer involve the expression or upregulation of various molecular targets that can be used for diagnostic nuclear medicine imaging and radiopharmaceutical treatment. Theragnostics is based on the binding of radionuclides to molecular targets. These radionuclides can induce a cytotoxic effect on the specific tumor cell (target) or its vicinity, thus allowing a personalized approach to patients with effective treatment and comparably small side effects.

Aim: This review aims to describe the most promising molecular targets currently under investigation for theragnostics and precision oncology in breast cancer.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search of studies on theragnostics in breast cancer was performed in the PubMed, PMC, Scopus, Google Scholar, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane library databases, between 2010 and 2022, using the following terms: breast neoplasm*, breast, breast cancer*, theragnostic*, theranostic*, radioligand therap*, RLT, MET, FLT, FMISO, FES, estradiol, trastuzumab, PD-L1, PSMA, FAPI, FACBC, fluciclovine, FAZA, GRPR, DOTATOC, DOTATATE, CXC4, endoglin, gastrin, mucin1, and syndecan1.

Results: Fifty-three studies were included in the systematic review and summarized in six clinical sections: 1) human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2); 2) somatostatin receptors (SSTRS); 3) prostate-specific membrane antigen radiotracers (PSMA); 4) fibroblast activation protein-α targeted radiotracers; 5) gastrin-releasing peptide receptor-targeted radiotracers; 6) other radiotracers for theragnostics.

Conclusion: The theragnostic approach will progressively allow better patient selection, and improve the prediction of response and toxicity, avoiding unnecessary and costly treatment.

Keywords: FAPi; PRRT; PSMA; Theragnostic; [177Lu]Lu-trastuzumab; breast cancer; precision medicine; radioligand therapy.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Precision Medicine
  • Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use


  • Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals