Theranostics 2020; 10(4):1708-1718. doi:10.7150/thno.38339

Review

Molecular imaging biomarkers for immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy

Pim P van de Donk1, Laura Kist de Ruijter1, Marjolijn N Lub-de Hooge2,3, Adrienne H Brouwers3, Anthonie J van der Wekken4, Sjoukje F Oosting1, Rudolf SN Fehrmann1, Derk Jan A de Groot1, Elisabeth GE de Vries1✉

1. Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.
2. Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.
3. Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.
4. Department of Pulmonary Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

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Citation:
van de Donk PP, Kist de Ruijter L, Lub-de Hooge MN, Brouwers AH, van der Wekken AJ, Oosting SF, Fehrmann RSN, de Groot DJA, de Vries EGE. Molecular imaging biomarkers for immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Theranostics 2020; 10(4):1708-1718. doi:10.7150/thno.38339. Available from http://www.thno.org/v10p1708.htm

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Abstract

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have substantially changed the field of oncology over the past few years. ICIs offer an alternative treatment strategy by exploiting the patients' immune system, resulting in a T cell mediated anti-tumor response. These therapies are effective in multiple different tumor types. Unfortunately, a substantial group of patients do not respond to ICIs. Molecular imaging, using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET), can provide non-invasive whole-body visualization of tumor and immune cell characteristics and might support patient selection or response evaluations for ICI therapies. In this review, recent studies with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-PET imaging, imaging of immune checkpoints and imaging of immune cells will be discussed. These studies are until now mainly exploratory, but the first results suggest that molecular imaging biomarkers could have a role in the evaluation of ICI therapy.

Keywords: molecular imaging, biomarkers, positron emitting tomography, immune checkpoint inhibitor, immunotherapy.