Theranostic approaches in nuclear medicine: current status and future prospects

Luca Filippi, Agostino Chiaravalloti, Orazio Schillaci, Roberto Cianni, Oreste Bagni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Theranostics is an emerging field in which diagnosis and specific targeted therapy are combined to achieve a personalized treatment approach to the patient. In nuclear medicine clinical practice, theranostics is often performed utilizing the same molecule labeled with two different radionuclides, one radionuclide for imaging and another for therapy.Areas covered: The authors review the clinical applications of different radiopharmaceuticals in the field of interest, including the well-established use of radioactive iodine in differentiated thyroid cancer, radiolabeled metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) in neuroblastoma and the clinical impact of peptide radionuclide receptorial therapy (PRRT) in the management of neuroendocrine tumors. Furthermore, the more cutting-edge and recently introduced theranostic approaches will be reviewed, such as the radioligand therapy with 177Lu-prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) and targeted alpha therapy in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Finally, the main applications of PET for the imaging of biomarkers suitable for the non-radionuclide targeted therapy will be covered.Expert opinion: Theranostics is envisaging a revolutionary clinical approach which is deeply connected with the concept of personalized medicine and ruled by a 'patient-centered' vision. In this perspective, the theranostic applications will need well-trained specialists, capable to manage not only the technological aspects of the discipline, but also to deal with the more innovative oncological therapies in a multidisciplinary setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-343
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes/therapeutic use
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Precision Medicine
  • Radiopharmaceuticals/therapeutic use
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine/trends


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