Optical molecular imaging for tumor detection and image-guided surgery

Chensu Wang, Zhaohui Wang, Tian Zhao, Yang Li, Gang Huang, Baran D. Sumer, Jinming Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


We have witnessed rapid development of fluorescence molecular imaging of solid tumors for cancer diagnosis and image-guided surgery in the past decade. Many biomarkers unique to cancer cells or tumor microenvironment, such as cell surface receptors, hypoxia, secreted proteases and extracellular acidosis have been characterized, and can be used to distinguish cancer from normal tissue. A variety of optical imaging probes have been developed to target these biomarkers to improve tumor contrast over the background tissue. Unlike conventional anatomical and molecular imaging technologies, fluorescent imaging method benefits from its safety, high-spatial resolution and real-time capability, and therefore, has become a highly adoptable imaging method for tumor detection and image-guided surgery in clinics. In this review, we summarize recent progress in ‘always-ON’ and stimuli-activatable fluorescent imaging probes, and discuss their potentials in tumor detection and image-guided surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-75
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Cancer molecular imaging
  • Image-guided surgery
  • Stimuli-responsive nanomaterials
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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