Targeted contrast agents for 1H MRI of tumor microenvironment

Shubhangi Agarwal, Vikram Kodibagkar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In-vivo imaging of cancer can readily provide anatomical and functional information about the tumor, non-invasively, and assist in guiding treatment choices. Proton (1H) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful imaging modality that is particularly useful for studying the dynamic processes in the body with anatomical co-registration. MRI can safely provide diagnostic information to the clinicians repeatedly over the course of therapy. This information on the temporal evolution of tumors can greatly assist the clinicians and researchers in prognosis as well as in selection of better therapeutic protocols and assessment of novel therapies. MRI can be enhanced by the use of contrast agents that enable better delineation of the tumor from its surroundings and these are now routinely used in the clinic for examination of pathologies, particularly cancer. Development of novel contrast agents with specific targeting abilities to the tumor has the potential to greatly improve the diagnosis of the cancer. It can also assist in further improving our understanding of the cancer progression/treatment and aid in designing better therapies. This chapter discusses targeted 1H MRI contrast agents for application in cancer imaging. We begin with an introduction to MRI and the mechanism of MRI contrast agents. We then classify the contrast agents for 1H MRI of tumor microenvironment into two categories, namely lanthanide-based and iron-based, respectively, and discuss the general properties that affect the sensitivity. Targeting agents are also classified based on size and structure (small-molecular, macromolecular, micellar, liposomal and nanoparticulate) and their target in the tumor (vascular versus extravascular). We discuss examples of each category of targeted agent and highlight in vivo applications. Finally we outline the future prospects for this important field of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCancer Therapeutics and Imaging
Subtitle of host publicationMolecular and Cellular Engineering and Nanobiomedicine
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages56
ISBN (Electronic)9789813222557
ISBN (Print)9789813222540
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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