Rapidly changing landscape of PET/CT imaging in prostate cancer

PET/CT imaging in men with prostate cancer (PCa) is rapidly growing as clinicians are becoming aware of its possible fundamental role in the diagnostic flow chart of these patients. As this technology becomes more available worldwide, a considerable number of scientific studies are focusing on specific clinical scenarios and novel PET radiopharmaceuticals that might assist improving early diagnosis and shifting to a truly tailored treatment for PCa. This review focuses on the most recent and important publications in PET/CT imaging of PCa.

Choline, radiolabelled with either 11-C or 18-F, is now widely used and has shown good performance in detecting sites of disease compared with conventional imaging, especially in biochemical recurrence. However, its sensitivity and specificity when PSA values are low, and especially below 1.0 ng/ml, is insufficient. More recently, a number of new tracers have been proposed for clinical practice. Among them, 68-Ga Prostate-specific membrane antigen have shown so far the most promising results and is replacing choline PET in centres where it is available. It is particularly useful for detecting PCa relapse at low PSA values but may also be useful for staging of patients with intermediate or high risk prostate cancer. 18-F fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT remains useful for a limited number of patients with PCa and may provide useful prognostic information.

PET/CT is a reliable technique in the diagnostic work-up of patients with PCa, particularly in the setting of biochemical recurrence following previous definitive treatment. The landscape of available radiotracers is changing rapidly and includes fluorodeoxyglucose, sodium fluoride, choline, anti-1-amino-3-18F-fluorocyclobutane-1-carboxylic acid, and prostate-specific membrane antigen. Of these, prostate-specific membrane antigen PET/CT appears the most likely to represent a new gold standard with evidence of clinical utility emerging in a variety of scenarios, including staging and biochemical recurrence.

Current opinion in urology. 2016 Sep [Epub]

Joshua J Morigi, S Fanti, D Murphy, Michael S Hofman

aNuclear Medicine Department, Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital and Department of Specialized, Experimental, and Diagnostic Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, ItalybPeter MacCallum Cancer Centre and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia*Joshua J. Morigi and Michael S. Hofman have contributed equally to the writing of this article.