The use of ionizing radiation for cancer treatment has undergone extraordinary development during the past hundred years. The advancement of medical imaging has been critical in helping to achieve this change. The invention of computed tomography (CT) was pivotal in the development of treatment planning. Despite some disadvantages, CT remains the only three-dimensional imaging modality used for dose calculation. Newer image modalities, such as magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and positron emission tomography (PET), are also used secondarily in the treatment-planning process. MR, with its better tissue contrast and resolution than those of CT, improves tumor definition compared with CT planning alone. PET also provides metabolic information to supplement the CT and MR anatomical information. With emerging molecular imaging techniques, the ability to visualize and characterize tumors with regard to their metabolic profile, active pathways, and genetic markers, both across different tumors and within individual, heterogeneous tumors, will inform clinicians regarding the treatment options most likely to benefit a patient and to detect at the earliest time possible if and where a chosen therapy is working. In the post-human-genome era, multimodality scanners such as PET/CT and PET/MR will provide optimal tumor targeting information.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)