Engineered nanoparticles with theranostic functions have attracted a lot of attention for their potential role in the dawning era of personalized medicine. Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), with their advantages of being non-toxic, biodegradable and inexpensive, are candidate platforms for the buildup of theranostic nanostructures; however, progress in using them has been limited largely due to inefficient drug loading and delivery. In the current study, we utilized dopamine to modify the surface of IONPs, yielding nanoconjugates that can be easily encapsulated into human serum albumin (HSA) matrices (clinically utilized drug carriers). This nanosystem is well-suited for dual encapsulation of IONPs and drug molecules, because the encapsulation is achieved in a way that is similar to common drug loading. To assess the biophysical characteristics of this novel nanosystem, the HSA coated IONPs (HSA-IONPs) were dually labeled with (64)Cu-DOTA and Cy5.5, and tested in a subcutaneous U87MG xenograft mouse model. In vivo positron emission tomography (PET)/near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tri-modality imaging, and ex vivo analyses and histological examinations were carefully conducted to investigate the in vivo behavior of the nanostructures. With the compact HSA coating, the HSA-IONPs manifested a prolonged circulation half-life; more impressively, they showed massive accumulation in lesions, high extravasation rate, and low uptake of the particles by macrophages at the tumor area.