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Breast Cancer Res. 2012 Mar 16;14(2):206.

Advances in molecular imaging for breast cancer detection and characterization.

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  • 1Division of Medical Oncology, University of Washington, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, 825 Eastlake Avenue East, G3-630, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. jspecht@uw.edu


Advances in our ability to assay molecular processes, including gene expression, protein expression, and molecular and cellular biochemistry, have fueled advances in our understanding of breast cancer biology and have led to the identification of new treatments for patients with breast cancer. The ability to measure biologic processes without perturbing them in vivo allows the opportunity to better characterize tumor biology and to assess how biologic and cytotoxic therapies alter critical pathways of tumor response and resistance. By accurately characterizing tumor properties and biologic processes, molecular imaging plays an increasing role in breast cancer science, clinical care in diagnosis and staging, assessment of therapeutic targets, and evaluation of responses to therapies. This review describes the current role and potential of molecular imaging modalities for detection and characterization of breast cancer and focuses primarily on radionuclide-based methods.

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