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Int J Cancer. 2012 Aug 1;131(3):519-28. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27528. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Quantum dots hold promise for early cancer imaging and detection.

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First Department of Surgery, Tzaneion General Hospital, Piraeus, Greece.

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  • Int J Cancer. 2015 Jul 1;137(1):1.


Despite all major breakthroughs in recent years of research concerning the complex events that lead to cancer expression and metastasis, we are not yet able to effectively treat cancer that has spread to vital organs. The various clinical phases originating from cancer diagnosis through treatment and prognosis require a comprehensive understanding of these events, to utilise pre-symptomatic, minimally invasive and targeted cancer management techniques. Current imaging modalities such as ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and gamma scintigraphy facilitate the pre-operative study of tumours, but they have been rendered unable to visualise cancer in early stages, due to their intrinsic limitations. The semiconductor nanocrystal quantum dots (QDs) have excellent photo-physical properties, and the QDs-based probes have achieved encouraging developments in cellular (in vitro) and in vivo molecular imaging. However, the same unique physical and chemical properties which renowned QDs attractive may be associated with their potentially catastrophic effects on living cells and tissues. There are critical issues that need to be further examined to properly assess the risks associated with the manufacturing and use of QDs in cancer management. In this review, we aim to describe the current utilisation of QDs as well as their future prospective to decipher and confront cancer.

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