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Disease Markers
Volume 18, Issue 5-6, Pages 211-247

Assessment of Cancer-Associated Biomarkers by Positron Emission Tomography: Advances and Challenges

T. Lee Collier,1 Roger Lecomte,3 Timothy J. McCarthy,5 Steve Meikle,6 Thomas J. Ruth,4 Francesco Scopinaro,7 Alberto Signore,7 Henry Van Brocklin,8 Christophe Van de Wiele,9 and Rikki N. Waterhouse2

1PETNET Pharmaceuticals, North Wales, PA, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
3Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
4UBC/TRIUMF PET Program, University of British Columbia, Canada
5Pharmacia, Peapack, NJ, USA
6Department of PET and Nuclear Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
7Department of Nuclear Medicine, University "La Sapienza", Roma, Italy
8Department of Nuclear Medicine and Functional Imaging, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley CA, USA
9Division of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

Received 17 November 2003; Accepted 17 November 2003

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Positron emission tomography (PET) provides a powerful means to non-invasively image and quantify protein expression and biochemical changes in living subjects at nano- and picomolar levels. As the field of molecular imaging develops, and as advances in the biochemistry, pharmacology, therapeutics, and molecular biology of disease are made, there is a corresponding increase in the number of clinically relevant, novel disease-associated biomarkers that are brought to the attention of those developing imaging probes for PET. In addition, due to the high specificity of the PET radiotracers being developed, there is a demand for PET cameras with higher sensitivity and resolution. This manuscript reviews advances over the past five years in clinical and pre-clinical PET instrumentation and in new PET probes and imaging methods associated with the latest trends in the molecular imaging of cancer. Included in the PET tracer review is a description of new radioligands for steroid receptors, growth factor receptors, receptor tyrosine kinases, sigma receptors, tumor-associated enzymes, gene reporter probes, markers for tumor hypoxia and metabolism, and sites associated with angiogenesis and cellular proliferation. The use of PET imaging in drug development, including the monitoring of cancer chemotherapy, also is discussed.