Molecular Imaging and New Frontiers in Radiology
- Texture analysis has arisen as a tool to explore the amount of data contained in images that cannot be explored by humans visually. Radiomics is a method that extracts a large number of features from radiographic medical images using data-characterisation algorithms. These features, termed radiomic features, have the potential to uncover disease characteristics. The goal of both radiomics and texture analysis is to go beyond size or human-eye based semantic descriptors, to enable the non-invasive extraction of quantitative radiological data to correlate them with clinical outcomes or pathological characteristics.
- Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease nowadays, including different biological subtypes with a variety of possible treatments, which aim to achieve the best outcome in terms of response to therapy and overall survival. In recent years breast imaging has evolved considerably, and the ultimate goal is to predict these strong phenotypic differences noninvasively. Indeed, breast cancer multiparametric studies can highlight not only qualitative imaging parameters, as the presence/absence of a likely malignant finding, but also quantitative parameters, suggesting clinical-pathological features through the evaluation of imaging biomarkers.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide [1,2]. The number of pulmonary nodules occasionally identified is constantly increasing, and it reflects both larger number of screening tests and improvement of diagnostic equipment [3,4]. The goal in the management of lung nodules is to differentiate malignant from benign lesions.
- Theranostics is a portmanteau combining the terms ‘therapy’ and ‘diagnostic’ and, in the context of this review, refers to the application of radiolabeled ligands for imaging and radionuclide therapy. The general idea is to visualize a treatable target and then deliver therapeutic dosages of internal radiation via radioactive compounds in both steps. Following the concept of precision oncology, theranostic applications aim to select suitable patients likely to benefit from subsequent radioligand therapy.
- Molecular imaging techniques have rapidly progressed over recent decades providing unprecedented in vivo characterization of metabolic pathways and molecular biomarkers. Many of these new techniques have been successfully applied in the field of neuro-oncological imaging to probe tumor biology. Targeting specific signaling or metabolic pathways could help to address several unmet clinical needs that hamper the management of patients with brain tumors. This review aims to provide an overview of the recent advances in brain tumor imaging using molecular targeting with positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, as well as the role in patient management and possible therapeutic implications.