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Morphological imaging techniques are very limited in their ability to evaluate the early efficacy of tumor therapies, with the limitation of being more reflective and lagging. Many of the newer therapies are cytostatic, and tumor necrosis or lack of tumor progression is associated with a good response to treatment even in the absence of tumor shrinkage; therefore, there is an increasing need to develop techniques for the assessment of tumor efficacy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with the help of a variety of contrast mechanisms and probes, provides excellent soft-tissue imaging, high-quality anatomical signals as well as reflecting certain functional states of the tumor and molecular biological information. It can be used to differentiate between cancer and normal tissue, to noninvasively monitor tumor growth, and to identify changes in the tumor and its microenvironment in response to treatment. This review will discuss the role of magnetic resonance imaging in the assessment of tumor efficacy, with a focus on presenting research advances in magnetic resonance molecular imaging and its probes in the assessment of tumor efficacy.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Its Molecular Probes in Evaluating the Response to Tumor Treatment

Show Author's information Dinghua LiuWeitao YangBingbo Zhang( )
Department of Radiology, Tongji Hospital, Shanghai Frontiers Science Center of Nanocatalytic Medicine, The Institute for Biomedical Engineering & Nano Science, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai 200065, China


Morphological imaging techniques are very limited in their ability to evaluate the early efficacy of tumor therapies, with the limitation of being more reflective and lagging. Many of the newer therapies are cytostatic, and tumor necrosis or lack of tumor progression is associated with a good response to treatment even in the absence of tumor shrinkage; therefore, there is an increasing need to develop techniques for the assessment of tumor efficacy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with the help of a variety of contrast mechanisms and probes, provides excellent soft-tissue imaging, high-quality anatomical signals as well as reflecting certain functional states of the tumor and molecular biological information. It can be used to differentiate between cancer and normal tissue, to noninvasively monitor tumor growth, and to identify changes in the tumor and its microenvironment in response to treatment. This review will discuss the role of magnetic resonance imaging in the assessment of tumor efficacy, with a focus on presenting research advances in magnetic resonance molecular imaging and its probes in the assessment of tumor efficacy.

Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), tumor treatment, molecular probes, efficacy assessment



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Publication history
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Publication history

Received: 10 December 2023
Revised: 01 February 2024
Accepted: 27 February 2024
Published: 02 April 2024


© The Author(s) 2024.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 82272137, 82272055), National Key Research and Development Project (Grant 2022YFB3804500), Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning Project (Grant 20204Y0032), Shanghai Sailing Program (Grant 21YF1436600), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant 22120220585).

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