The vast majority of breast and prostate cancers express specific receptors for steroid hormones, which play a pivotal role in tumor progression. Because of the efficacy of endocrine therapy combined with its relatively mild sideeffects, this intervention has nowadays become the treatment of choice for patients with advanced breast and prostate cancer, provided that their tumors express hormone receptors. However, in case of breast cancer it is well known that part of the patients have hormone receptor-negative tumors at diagnosis, whereas other patients have discordant receptor expression across lesions. In addition, receptor expression can change during therapy and result in resistance to this therapy. Besides several lines of hormonal treatments, also other strategies to affect the hormone receptors are currently under investigation, namely histone deacetylases (HDAC) and heat shock protein (HSP) inhibitors. Knowledge of the actual receptor status can support optimal treatment decision-making and the evaluation of new drugs. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a non-invasive nuclear imaging technique that allows monitoring and quantification of hormone receptor expression across lesions throughout the body. Several PET tracers have been developed for imaging of the most relevant hormone receptors in breast and prostate cancer: i.e. the estrogen, progesterone and androgen receptors. Some of these PET tracers have been successfully applied in early clinical studies. This review will give an overview of the current status of PET imaging of hormone receptors in breast and prostate cancer.
Keywords: Breast cancer, prostate cancer, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, androgen receptor, endocrine therapy, positron emission tomography, imaging
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