The role of imaging for translational research in bone tumors

Maria Serena Benassi, Eugenio Rimondi, Alba Balladelli, Cristina Ghinelli, Giovanna Magagnoli, Daniel Vanel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of rare connective tissue tumors, representing 1% of adult and 15% ofchildhood cancers for which biological and pathological information is still incomplete. In bone tumorspatients with metastatic disease at onset, those who relapse and those with post-surgical secondarylesions still have a dismal outcome because of poor response to current therapies. Different molecularbiology approaches have identified activated cell signalling pathways or specific molecular endpoints thatmay be considered potential drug targets or markers useful for diagnosis/prognosis in musculoskeletalpathology. Recently, advances in the field of molecular imaging allow visualization of cell and metabolicfunctions with the use of targets that include cell membrane receptors, enzymes of intracellular transport.Moreover advanced non-invasive newer imaging techniques like 18-FDG PET, quantitative dynamic-contrast MR imaging, diffusion weighted imaging have all shown a potential in distinguish malignant frombenign lesions, in revealing the efficacy of therapy in tumors, the onset of recurrence and a good reliabilityin reckoning the percentage of necrosis in Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma. Thus, in vivo detection ofimaging cancer biomarkers may be useful to better characterize those complex pathologic processes,such as apoptosis, proliferation and angiogenesis that determine tumor aggressiveness, providing notonly complementary information of prognostic metabolic indicators, but also data in real-time on theefficacy of the treatment through the modulation of the cell metabolism

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2115-2123
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Diffusion weighted imaging
  • Molecular imaging
  • MR imaging
  • Quantitative dynamic-contrast
  • Sarcomas
  • Signalling pathway
  • Target therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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