Molecular imaging of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor: opportunities beyond cancer

V. M. Baart, R. D. Houvast, L. F. de Geus-Oei, P. H.A. Quax, P. J.K. Kuppen, A. L. Vahrmeijer, C. F.M. Sier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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The urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) plays a multifaceted role in almost any process where migration of cells and tissue-remodeling is involved such as inflammation, but also in diseases as arthritis and cancer. Normally, uPAR is absent in healthy tissues. By its carefully orchestrated interaction with the protease urokinase plasminogen activator and its inhibitor (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1), uPAR localizes a cascade of proteolytic activities, enabling (patho)physiologic cell migration. Moreover, via the interaction with a broad range of cell membrane proteins, like vitronectin and various integrins, uPAR plays a significant, but not yet completely understood, role in differentiation and proliferation of cells, affecting also disease progression. The implications of these processes, either for diagnostics or therapeutics, have received much attention in oncology, but only limited beyond. Nonetheless, the role of uPAR in different diseases provides ample opportunity to exploit new applications for targeting. Especially in the fields of oncology, cardiology, rheumatology, neurology, and infectious diseases, uPAR-targeted molecular imaging could offer insights for new directions in diagnosis, surveillance, or treatment options.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
JournalEJNMMI Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Image-guided surgery
  • Nuclear imaging
  • PET
  • uPA


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