Article

Receptor imaging of pediatric tumors: clinical practice and new developments.

Department of Radiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA.
Pediatric Radiology (Impact Factor: 1.65). 06/2008; 38(11):1154-61. DOI: 10.1007/s00247-008-0878-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pediatric cancers often have specific molecular fingerprints making them primary candidates for the development of targeted imaging techniques. Tumor-targeted tracers have the potential to substantially advance the sensitivity and specificity of imaging techniques by improving tumor detection and characterization. This article reviews various approaches to target tumors via specific tumor antigens, tumor cell surface receptors and specific surface receptors of the endothelial cells of the tumor vessels. These new applied molecular imaging techniques are expected to improve our knowledge of the biology of pediatric cancers and, ultimately, to help in the development of tailored diagnoses and therapies, which may ultimately lead to better individual long-term outcomes.

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    ABSTRACT: MRI is a very versatile tool for noninvasive imaging and it is particularly attractive as an imaging technique in paediatric patients given the absence of ionizing radiation. Recent advances in the field of MRI have enabled tissue function to be probed noninvasively, and increasingly MRI is being used to assess cellular and molecular processes. For example, dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI has been used to assess tissue vascularity, diffusion-weighted imaging can quantify molecular movements of water in tissue compartments and MR spectroscopy provides a quantitative assessment of metabolite levels. A number of targeted contrast agents have been developed that bind specifically to receptors on the vascular endothelium or cell surface and there are several MR methods for labelling cells and tracking cellular movements. Hyperpolarization techniques have the capability of massively increasing the sensitivity of MRI and these have been used to image tissue pH, successful response to drug treatment as well as imaging the microstructure of the lungs. Although there are many challenges to be overcome before these techniques can be translated into routine paediatric imaging, they could potentially be used to aid diagnosis, predict disease outcome, target biopsies and determine treatment response noninvasively.
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