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Am J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2012 Apr 15;2(2):248-259. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Molecular imaging of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor in cancer.

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Department of Medical Physics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI, USA.


Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) plays an important role in proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and tumor invasion. Histology and in situ hybridization studies have revealed that IGF1R was significantly up-regulated at the protein and mRNA level in many types of cancer. Since measuring IGF1R expression with immunohistochemistry has many limitations, non-invasive imaging of IGF1R can allow for more accurate patient stratification (e.g. selecting the right patient population for IGF1R-targeted therapy) and more effective monitoring of the therapeutic responses in cancer patients. In this review, we will summarize the current status of imaging IGF1R expression in cancer, which includes single-photon emission computed tomography, positron emission tomography, fluorescence, and γ-camera imaging. The four major classes of ligands that have been developed for non-invasive visualization of IGF1R will be discussed: proteins, antibodies, peptides, and affibodies. To date, molecular imaging of IGF1R expression is understudied and more research effort is needed in the future.

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