Multimodal Molecular Imaging of the Tumour Microenvironment

  • Claudia Foray
  • Cristina Barca
  • Philipp Backhaus
  • Sonja Schelhaas
  • Alexandra Winkeler
  • Thomas Viel
  • Michael Schäfers
  • Oliver Grauer
  • Andreas H. Jacobs
  • Bastian ZinnhardtEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1225)


The tumour microenvironment (TME) surrounding tumour cells is a highly dynamic and heterogeneous composition of immune cells, fibroblasts, precursor cells, endothelial cells, signalling molecules and extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Due to the heterogeneity and the constant crosstalk between the TME and the tumour cells, the components of the TME are important prognostic parameters in cancer and determine the response to novel immunotherapies. To improve the characterization of the TME, novel non-invasive imaging paradigms targeting the complexity of the TME are urgently needed.

The characterization of the TME by molecular imaging will (1) support early diagnosis and disease follow-up, (2) guide (stereotactic) biopsy sampling, (3) highlight the dynamic changes during disease pathogenesis in a non-invasive manner, (4) help monitor existing therapies, (5) support the development of novel TME-targeting therapies and (6) aid stratification of patients, according to the cellular composition of their tumours in correlation to their therapy response.

This chapter will summarize the most recent developments and applications of molecular imaging paradigms beyond FDG for the characterization of the dynamic molecular and cellular changes in the TME.


Tumour microenvironment PET MRI Molecular imaging Cancer TAM GAMM Myeloid derived suppressor cells Tumour infiltrating lymphocytes Immunotherapy Glioma Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts TSPO Vasculature TME 



This work was partly supported by the EU seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement n° 278850 (INMiND), the Horizon2020 Programme under grant agreement n° 675417 (PET3D), the “Cells-in-Motion” Cluster of Excellence (DFG EXC1003 – CiM) and the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF core unit PIX), Münster, Germany.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Foray
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cristina Barca
    • 1
    • 2
  • Philipp Backhaus
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sonja Schelhaas
    • 1
  • Alexandra Winkeler
    • 4
  • Thomas Viel
    • 5
  • Michael Schäfers
    • 1
    • 3
  • Oliver Grauer
    • 6
  • Andreas H. Jacobs
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Bastian Zinnhardt
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI)University of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.PET Imaging in Drug Design and Development (PET3D)MünsterGermany
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear MedicineUniversity Hospital Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms University MünsterMünsterGermany
  4. 4.UMR 1023, IMIV, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, CEA, Inserm, Université Paris Sud, CNRS, Université Paris-SaclayOrsayFrance
  5. 5.Paris Centre de Recherche Cardiovasculaire, INSERM-U970, Université Paris DescartesParisFrance
  6. 6.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital MünsterMünsterGermany
  7. 7.Department of GeriatricsJohanniter Hospital, Evangelische KlinikenBonnGermany

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