Bone imaging in prostate cancer: the evolving roles of nuclear medicine and radiology

The bone scan continues to be recommended for both the staging and therapy response assessment of skeletal metastases from prostate cancer. However, it is widely recognised that bone scans have limited sensitivity for disease detection and is both insensitive and non-specific for determining treatment response, at an early enough time point to be clinically useful. We, therefore, review the evolving roles of nuclear medicine and radiology for this application. We have reviewed the published literature reporting recent developments in imaging bone metastases in prostate cancer, and provide a balanced synopsis of the state of the art. The development of single-photon emission computed tomography combined with computed tomography has improved detection sensitivity and specificity but has not yet been shown to lead to improvements in monitoring therapy. A number of bone-specific and tumour-specific tracers for positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) are now available for advanced prostate cancer that show promise in both clinical settings. At the same time, the development of whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) that incorporates diffusion-weighted imaging also offers significant improvements for detection and therapy response assessment. There are emerging data showing comparative SPECT/CT, PET/CT, and WB-MRI test performance for disease detection, but no compelling data on the usefulness of these technologies in response assessment have yet emerged.

Clinical and translational imaging. 2016 Jan 20 [Epub]

Gary J R Cook, Gurdip Azad, Anwar R Padhani

Division of Imaging Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, Department of Cancer Imaging, Clinical PET Centre, St Thomas' Hospital, Kings College London, London, SE1 7EH UK., Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Rickmansworth Road, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2RN UK.