Radiation therapy has made tremendous progress in oncology over the last decades due to advances in engineering and physical sciences in combination with better biochemical, genetic and molecular understanding of this disease. Local delivery of optimal radiation dose to a tumor, while sparing healthy surrounding tissues, remains a great challenge, especially in the proximity of vital organs. Therefore, imaging plays a key role in tumor staging, accurate target volume delineation, assessment of individual radiation resistance and even personalized dose prescription. From this point of view, radiotherapy might be one of the few therapeutic modalities that relies entirely on high-resolution imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with its superior soft-tissue resolution is already used in radiotherapy treatment planning complementing conventional computed tomography (CT). Development of systems integrating MRI and linear accelerators opens possibilities for simultaneous imaging and therapy, which in turn, generates the need for imaging probes with therapeutic components. In this review, we discuss the role of MRI in both external and internal radiotherapy focusing on the most important examples of contrast agents with combined therapeutic potential.
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