Fluorescent chemical probes for accurate tumor diagnosis and targeting therapy
Surgical resection of solid tumors is currently the gold standard and preferred therapeutic strategy for cancer. Chemotherapy drugs also make a significant contribution by inhibiting the rapid growth of tumor cells and these two approaches are often combined to enhance treatment efficacy. However, surgery and chemotherapy inevitably lead to severe side effects and high systemic toxicity, which in turn results in poor prognosis. Precision medicine has promoted the development of treatment modalities that are developed to specifically target and kill tumor cells. Advances in in vivo medical imaging for visualizing tumor lesions can aid diagnosis, facilitate surgical resection, investigate therapeutic efficacy, and improve prognosis. In particular, the modality of fluorescence imaging has high specificity and sensitivity and has been utilized for medical imaging. Therefore, there are great opportunities for chemists and physicians to conceive, synthesize, and exploit new chemical probes that can image tumors and release chemotherapy drugs in vivo. This review focuses on small molecular ligand-targeted fluorescent imaging probes and fluorescent theranostics, including their design strategies and applications in clinical tumor treatment. The progress in chemical probes described here suggests that fluorescence imaging is a vital and rapidly developing field for interventional surgical imaging, as well as tumor diagnosis and therapy.