Detection efficacy of hybrid 68Ga-PSMA ligand PET/CT in prostate cancer patients with biochemical recurrence after primary radiation therapy defined by phoenix criteria

Ingo Einspieler, Isabel Rauscher, Charlotte Düwel, Markus Krönke, Christoph Rischpler, Gregor Habl, Sabrina Dewes, Armin Ott, Hans Jürgen Wester, Markus Schwaiger, Tobias Maurer, Matthias Eiber

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The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the detection rate of Glu-NH-CO-NH-Lys-(Ahx)-[68Ga(HBED-CC)] (68Ga-PSMA ligand; PSMA is prostate-specific membrane antigen) PET/CT in patients with biochemical recurrent prostate cancer defined by Phoenix criteria after external-beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy as primary treatment. Methods: One hundred eighteen patients with a median prostate-specific antigen (PSA) of 6.4 ng/mL (range, 2.2-158.4 ng/mL; interquartile range, 4.2-10.2 ng/mL) were finally eligible for this retrospective analysis. Seventy-seven and 41 patients had been treated by external-beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy, respectively. Of the 118 patients, 45 were receiving androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) within at least 6 mo before the PET/CT. The detection rates were stratified by PSA. The influence of primary Gleason score and ADT was assessed. Relationships between SUV and clinical as well as pathologic features in patients with positive findings were analyzed using univariate and multivariable linear regression models. Results: One hundred seven of 118 patients (90.7%) showed pathologic findings indicative for tumor recurrence in 68Ga-PSMA ligand PET/CT. The detection rates were 81.8% (36/44), 95.3% (41/43), and 96.8% (30/31) for PSA of 2 to ,5, 5 to ,10, and $10 ng/mL, respectively (P 5 0.0377). 68Ga-PSMA ligand PET/CT indicated local recurrence in 68 of 107 patients (63.5%), distant lesions in 64 of 107 patients (59.8%), and local recurrence as well as distant lesions in 25 of 107 patients (23.4%). The detection rate was significantly higher in patients with ADT (97.7%) versus without ADT (86.3%, P 5 0.0381), but independent from primary Gleason score $ 8 (92.0%) versus # 7 (90.2%, P 5 0.6346). SUVmax and SUVmean were significantly associated with PSA and ADT (P 5 0.018 and 0.004 for SUVmax, respectively; P 5 0.025 and 0.007 for SUVmean, respectively). Conclusion: 68Ga-PSMA ligand PET/CT demonstrates high detection rates in patients with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer after primary radiation therapy. The detection rate was positively associated to increasing PSA as well as concomitant ADT. 68Ga-PSMA ligand PET/CT enables discrimination of local versus metastatic disease and thus might have a crucial impact on further clinical management. A major limitation of this study is the lack of histopathologic proof in most patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1087
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Brachytherapy
  • EBRT
  • PET/CT
  • PSMA ligand
  • Prostate cancer


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