Gallium-68 prostate-specific membrane antigen ([68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11) PET for imaging of thyroid cancer: a feasibility study

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Abstract

Background: Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is expressed in the microvasculature of thyroid cancer. This suggests the potential use of PSMA as a diagnostic agent in patients with aggressive forms of thyroid cancer. The purpose of the current study was to determine the feasibility and utility of [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/MRI in thyroid cancer patients. Methods: Eligible patients for this prospective pilot study were adults with a history of pathology-proven thyroid cancer who had abnormal radiotracer uptake on an 2-[18F]FDG PET and/or 131I scintigraphy performed in the 12 months prior to study enrollment. Patients underwent a [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/MRI, and comparison was made to the prior qualifying 2-[18F]FDG PET CT/MRI for lesion location and relative intensity. Results: Twelve patients underwent [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/MRI, one of which was excluded from analysis due to debulking surgery prior to the PSMA PET. Of the remaining patients, 7/11 had differentiated disease (3 papillary, 2 follicular, 2 Hurthle cell) and 4/11 had dedifferentiated disease (2 poorly differentiated papillary, 2 anaplastic). Out of 43 lesions, 41 were visually 2-[18F]FDG positive (uptake greater than background, detection rate 95.3%) and 28 were PSMA positive (uptake greater than background, detection rate 65.1%). Uptake was heterogeneous between patients, and in some cases within patients. 3/11 patients (1 poorly differentiated papillary, 2 follicular) had PSMA uptake which was greater than FDG uptake. For the remaining 8 patients, 2-[18F]FDG uptake was greater than PSMA. Using one eligibility guideline in the prostate cancer literature for PSMA radioligand therapy (RLT), 8/11 could be considered eligible for possible future PSMA RLT. This was not predictable based on thyroid cancer subtype. Conclusions: [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET demonstrated lower detection rate when compared to 2-[18F]FDG PET for thyroid cancer lesion visualization. Thyroid cancer subtype alone may not be sufficient to predict PSMA uptake, and radiotracer uptake may vary between patients and even within patients.

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Lawhn-Heath, C., Yom, S. S., Liu, C., Villanueva-Meyer, J. E., Aslam, M., Smith, R., … Flavell, R. R. (2020). Gallium-68 prostate-specific membrane antigen ([68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11) PET for imaging of thyroid cancer: a feasibility study. EJNMMI Research, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13550-020-00720-3

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