Theranostics: The Role of Quantitative Nuclear Medicine Imaging

Arda Könik, Joseph A. O'Donoghue, Richard L. Wahl, Michael M. Graham, Annick D. Van den Abbeele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Theranostics is a precision medicine discipline that integrates diagnostic nuclear medicine imaging with radionuclide therapy in a manner that provides both a tumor phenotype and personalized therapy to patients with cancer using radiopharmaceuticals aimed at the same target-specific biological pathway or receptor. The aim of quantitative nuclear medicine imaging is to plan the alpha or beta-emitting therapy based on an accurate 3-dimensional representation of the in-vivo distribution of radioactivity concentration within the tumor and normal organs/tissues in a noninvasive manner. In general, imaging may be either based on positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) invariably in combination with X-ray CT (PET/CT; SPECT/CT) or, to a much lesser extent, MRI. PET and SPECT differ in terms of the radionuclides and physical processes that give rise to the emission of high energy photons, as well as the sets of technologies involved in their detection. Using a variety of standardized quantitative parameters, system calibration, patient preparation, imaging acquisition and reconstruction protocols, and image analysis protocols, an accurate quantification of the tracer distribution can be obtained, which helps prescribe the therapeutic dose for each patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Radiation Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


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