Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for man with a high mortality rate due to a lack
of non-invasive accurate and sensitive molecular diagnostic methods. The molecular imaging of cancer
biomarkers using MRI with its spatial and temporal resolution, however, is largely limited by the lack
of contrast agents with high sensitivity, targeting specificity and deep tumor penetration. In this review,
we will first overview the current stage of prostate cancer diagnosis and then review prostate
cancer biomarkers and related imaging techniques. Since biomarker targeting moieties are essential for
molecular imaging, we will use prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) as an example to discuss
different methods to characterize the interaction between biomarker and targeting moieties. At the end, we will review
current progress of the development of targeted protein-based MRI contrast agents (ProCAs) for prostate cancer biomarkers
with improved relaxivity and targeting capability.
Keywords: Molecular imaging, protein-based MRI contrast agents, GRPR, PSMA, biomarkers.
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