Affiliation: Department of Radiology / Division of Pediatric Radiology, Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford, CA, USA.
There is a rapid expansion in the number of new anti-cancer drugs with remarkably different mechanisms of action that can augment traditional chemotherapy. As these agents are often used in combination with traditional chemotherapy testing the effects of these novel agents has proven difficult requiring large sample sizes to detect relatively small differences in patient survival. Despite the wide variety of mechanisms, most new drugs are thought to ultimately induce apoptosis of tumor cells or their supportive vasculature. Imaging agents that can non-invasively monitor apoptosis in response to these new drugs could therefore help streamline the drug development process. They may also help guide oncologists to identify those patients that could best benefit from a given therapeutic regimen, dose, or duration of drug. In this article we will outline the existing imaging agents and modalities that are currently undergoing clinical testing and those that could be rapidly translated into humans.