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Cancer Imaging. 2013 Dec 11;13(4):482-94. doi: 10.1102/1470-7330.2013.0047.

Functional imaging biomarkers for assessing response to treatment in liver and lung metastases.

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  • 1Clinical Magnetic Resonance Group, Institute of Cancer Research, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey, UK.


Management of patients with metastatic cancer and development of new treatments rely on imaging to provide non-invasive biomarkers of tumour response and progression. The widely used size-based criteria have increasingly become inadequate where early measures of response are required to avoid toxicity of ineffective treatments, as biological, physiologic, and molecular modifications in tumours occur before changes in gross tumour size. A multiparametric approach with the current range of imaging techniques allows functional aspects of tumours to be simultaneously interrogated. Appropriate use of these imaging techniques and their timing in relation to the treatment schedule, particularly in the context of clinical trials, is fundamental. There is a lack of consensus regarding which imaging parameters are most informative for a particular disease site and the best time to image so that, despite an increasing body of literature, open questions on these aspects remain. In addition, standardization of these new parameters is required. This review summarizes the published literature over the last decade on functional and molecular imaging techniques in assessing treatment response in liver and lung metastases.

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