Tc-99m-sestamibi (MIBI) is a well-known tumour imaging agent. Its retention within tumour cell mitochondria is related to perfusion and to the magnitude of the electrical gradient, reflecting cell viability. Several internal cell factors modulate this uptake; for example, multidrug resistance membrane proteins (Pgp and MRP1) and anti-apoptotic BCl-2 protein of the outer mitochondrial membrane can limit retention of MIBI. At the early stage of cell apoptosis, the electrical driving forces of MIBI uptake are impaired, and influx and accumulation are reduced. It seems clear that MIBI can be used before treatment to detect drug resistance, assess anti-apoptotic status and predict treatment efficacy. Although it has been suggested that MIBI might be used to monitor tumour response to treatment, MIBI is unable to differentiate tumours with ongoing apoptosis from those developing drug resistance.