Staging Prostate Cancer with 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT in the Elderly: Is Preimaging Biopsy Imperative?

Although prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET/CT has been shown valuable for staging biopsy-proven [B(+)] high-risk prostate cancer, elderly patients are occasionally referred for PSMA PET/CT without a preimaging confirming biopsy [B(-)]. The current study evaluated the rate, clinical characteristics, and PET-based stage of elderly B(-) patients and explored whether biopsy status affects therapeutic approach. Methods: One hundred consecutive patients at least 80 y old who underwent staging 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT were included. For each patient, we documented whether preimaging biopsy was performed, the clinical parameters, the PET-based staging parameters, and the primary therapy received. Results: Thirty-four (34%) of the elderly patients included in the study had no preimaging biopsy. Compared with B(+) patients, B(-) patients were older (median age, 87 vs. 82 y; P < 0.01), with worse performance status (P < 0.01) and higher prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels (median, 57 vs. 15.4 ng/mL; P < 0.01). On 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT, all B(-) patients had avid disease, with trends toward higher rates of bone metastases (47.1% vs. 28.8%) and overall advanced disease (50% vs. 33.3%) than in B(+) patients. Among patients with localized (n = 36) or locally advanced (n = 25) disease, B(-) patients were less commonly referred than B(+) patients for definitive therapies (P < 0.01). However, higher age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, and PSA were other probable factors determining their therapeutic approach. Among 39 patients with advanced disease, 38 received hormonal therapy irrespective of their biopsy status. Among B(-) patients with advanced disease who were referred for hormonal therapy, 12 of 13 with follow-up data showed a biochemical or imaging-based response. Conclusion: Real-life experience with 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT indicates that around one third of elderly patients are referred for imaging without a preimaging confirming biopsy. These patients are likely to be older, with a worse clinical status and higher PSA levels. Advanced disease might be more likely to be identified on their 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT images, and if it is, their biopsy status does not preclude them from receiving hormonal therapy.

Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine. 2023 Apr 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Mikhail Kesler, Dan Cohen, Charles Levine, David Sarid, Daniel Keizman, Ofer Yossepowitch, Einat Even-Sapir

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel., Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel., Department of Nuclear Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; .