Uncontrolled cell proliferation is an important hallmark of cancer. Cancer treatment with cytostatic chemodrugs usually results in insignificant changes in tumor size, and thus limits the applications of anatomical imaging modalities for determining the therapeutic efficacy. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with cell proliferation probes to assess the clinical outcome during or soon after treatment is becoming acceptable. At present, monitoring DNA synthetic pathways with radiolabeled nucleoside probes that are essential for cell proliferation has been considered a more specific approach to predict tumor response. Among the four nucleosides, thymidine analogues, such as 18F-FLT, have undergone years of development for clinical practice, while cytidine, adenosine and guanosine analogues receive less attention. Recently, several literatures have demonstrated that PET imaging with radiolabeled cytidine and adenosine analogues may have potential to evaluate immune response after chemotherapy, and may enable the prognosis forecast. In this review, we summarize the results of recent preclinical and clinical studies regarding using radiolabeled nucleoside analogues for predicting and monitoring tumor response in cancer treatment. The preparation protocols of these nucleoside scintigraphic probes are also described.
Keywords: Cancer, nucleoside analogues, PET, proliferation, radiosynthesis, treatment response, Uncontrolled cell proliferation, cytostatic chemodrugs, anatomical imaging modalities, radiolabeled nucleoside probes