Imaging tumour hypoxia with Positron Emission Tomography

I N Fleming, R Manavaki, P J Blower, C West, K J Williams, A L Harris, J Domarkas, S Lord, C Baldry, F J Gilbert

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Hypoxia, a hallmark of most solid tumours, is a negative prognostic factor due to its association with an aggressive tumour phenotype and therapeutic resistance. Given its prominent role in oncology, accurate detection of hypoxia is important, as it impacts on prognosis and could influence treatment planning. A variety of approaches have been explored over the years for detecting and monitoring changes in hypoxia in tumours, including biological markers and noninvasive imaging techniques. Positron emission tomography (PET) is the preferred method for imaging tumour hypoxia due to its high specificity and sensitivity to probe physiological processes in vivo, as well as the ability to provide information about intracellular oxygenation levels. This review provides an overview of imaging hypoxia with PET, with an emphasis on the advantages and limitations of the currently available hypoxia radiotracers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-250
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Early online date16 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) funded the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) PET Research Working party to organise a meeting to discuss imaging cancer with hypoxia tracers and Positron Emission Tomography. IF was funded by CRUK and is also supported by the Chief Scientific Office. ALH is supported by CRUK and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. RM is funded by NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. We would also like to thank Professors Tim Eisen and Duncan Jodrell, University of Cambridge, UK and Dr Anastasia Chalkidou, King’s
College London, UK for providing the 18F-FMISO and 64CuATSM images illustrated in this review


  • positron emission tomography (PET)
  • imaging
  • oncology
  • cancer
  • hypoxia
  • radiotracer


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