UNLABELLED: Conventional imaging modalities (CIMs) have limited sensitivity and specificity for detection of metastatic prostate cancer. We examined the potential of a first-in-class radiofluorinated small-molecule inhibitor of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), N-[N-[(S)-1,3-dicarboxypropyl]carbamoyl]-4-(18)F-fluorobenzyl-l-cysteine ((18)F-DCFBC), to detect metastatic hormone-naïve (HNPC) and castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
METHODS: Seventeen patients were prospectively enrolled (9 HNPC and 8 CRPC); 16 had CIM evidence of new or progressive metastatic prostate cancer and 1 had high clinical suspicion of metastatic disease. (18)F-DCFBC PET/CT imaging was obtained with 2 successive PET scans starting at 2 h after injection. Patients were imaged with CIM at approximately the time of PET. A lesion-by-lesion analysis of PET to CIM was performed in the context of either HNPC or CRPC. The patients were followed with available clinical imaging as a reference standard to determine the true nature of identified lesions on PET and CIM.
RESULTS: On the lesion-by-lesion analysis, (18)F-DCFBC PET was able to detect a larger number of lesions (592 positive with 63 equivocal) than CIM (520 positive with 61 equivocal) overall, in both HNPC and CRPC patients. (18)F-DCFBC PET detection of lymph nodes, bone lesions, and visceral lesions was superior to CIM. When intrapatient clustering effects were considered, (18)F-DCFBC PET was estimated to be positive in a large proportion of lesions that would be negative or equivocal on CIM (0.45). On follow-up, the sensitivity of (18)F-DCFBC PET (0.92) was superior to CIM (0.71). (18)F-DCFBC tumor uptake was increased at the later PET time point (∼2.5 h after injection), with background uptake showing a decreasing trend on later PET.
CONCLUSION: PET imaging with (18)F-DCFBC, a small-molecule PSMA-targeted radiotracer, detected more lesions than CIM and promises to diagnose and stage patients with metastatic prostate cancer more accurately than current imaging methods.
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