Clinical and Translational Imaging

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 285–294 | Cite as

PET biomarkers and probes for treatment response assessment in glioblastoma: a work in progress

  • Daniela Salvatore
  • Alessia Lo Dico
  • Cristina Martelli
  • Cecilia Diceglie
  • Luisa OttobriniEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Neuroimaging



Several pharmacological approaches are used for glioblastoma (GBM) treatment, each hinging on the triggering of different biochemical or functional processes; the development of specific and sensitive PET procedures for monitoring their efficacy proceeds with the identification of such new treatments. This paper presents an overview of the available “tumour biomarker”–“PET probe” pairs (i.e. the combination of a tumour target and a selective PET radiopharmaceutical) for monitoring the different treatments for GBM tested in human subjects.


A bibliographic search for papers on PET imaging for assessing treatment response in GBM was performed in PubMed and Web of science databases using the following string: (PET or positron) and (glioblastoma) and (treatment) and (monitoring); papers dealing with studies in human subjects published over the last 10 years were reviewed. Further papers were extracted from the bibliography of the reviewed papers.


In this review, we highlight through a detailed table that in spite of the current use in GBM patients of a large variety of PET radiopharmaceuticals, very few papers have specifically addressed the issue of the optimization and use of imaging biomarker–probe pairs for the assessment of treatment response in GBM. While new PET probes are being developed for assessing old and new GBM biomarkers, very few clinical trials have been performed to this end.


Whereas it appears that the use of old and new PET radiopharmaceuticals can advance the non-invasive assessment of treatment response in GBM, the optimal match of biomarker–probe pairs although highly needed is still being sought in particular with the active development of new highly specific treatments characterized by novel antitumoral targeting strategies.


Biomarkers Response assessment PET imaging Molecular targets Radiotracers 



Dr. Salvatore was supported by a Fellowship from the Doctorate School in Molecular and Translational Medicine of University of Milan, Italy. This work was partly supported in part by FP7-funded INSERT project (HEALTH-2012- INNOVATION-1, GA305311). The authors specify that no commercial companies participated or contributed to manuscript preparation.

Author contributions

DS: literature search and writing. ALD: literature analysis, review and writing. CM: writing and review. CD: content planning and review. LO: content planning, review, editing, and final revision.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors whose names are listed immediately below certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript: Daniela Salvatore, Alessia Lo Dico, Cristina Martelli, Cecilia Diceglie and Luisa Ottobrini

Statement on the welfare of animals/human

This article does not contain any new study with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors. Only previously published results have been reported.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any new study with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Only previously published results have been reported.


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Copyright information

© Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathophysiology and TransplantationUniversity of MilanSegrateItaly
  2. 2.Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology (IBFM)CNRSegrateItaly

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