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The limitation of the function of antitumour immune cells is a common hallmark of cancers that enables their survival. As such, the potential of immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) acts as a paradigm shift in the treatment of a range of cancers but has not yet been fully capitalised. Combining minimally and non-invasive locoregional therapies offered by radiologists with ICI is now an active field of research with the aim of furthering therapeutic capabilities in medical oncology. In parallel to this impending advancement, the "imaging toolbox" available to radiologists is also growing, enabling more refined tumour characterisation as well as greater accuracy in evaluating responses to therapy. Options range from metabolite labelling to cellular localisation to immune checkpoint screening. It is foreseeable that these novel imaging techniques will be integrated into personalised treatment algorithms. This growth in the field must include updating the current standardised imaging criteria to ensure they are fit for purpose. Such criteria is crucial to both appropriately guide clinical decision-making regarding next steps of treatment, but also provide reliable prognosis. Quantitative approaches to these novel imaging techniques are also already being investigated to further optimise personalised therapeutic decision-making. The therapeutic potential of specific ICIs and locoregional therapies could be determined before administration thus limiting unnecessary side-effects whilst maintaining efficacy. Several radiological aspects of oncological care are advancing simultaneously. Therefore, it is essential that each development is assessed for clinical use and optimised to ensure the best treatment decisions are being offered to the patient. In this review, we discuss state of the art advances in novel functional imaging techniques in the field of immuno-oncology both pre-clinically and clinically.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Radiol

Publication Date





Humans, Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors, Immunotherapy, Neoplasms, Medical Oncology, Radiology