Each year, more than 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer – making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the United States. While many patients survive prostate cancer, those who develop metastatic cancer have much poorer outcomes and a higher likelihood of dying from their disease. Currently, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Early detection and successful imaging are critical for tumor localization, staging the disease, and detecting recurrences. Conventional imaging methods, like include computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and bones scans, are essential but offer limited accuracy.
Promising new imaging technology has emerged called prostate-specific membrane antigen positon emission tomography (PMSA PET). PSMA is an antigen found in high levels on the surface of prostate cancer cells and is a potential biomarker for the disease. PMSA PET uses a radioactive tracer to locate and attach to PSMA proteins, which are then visible by PET. This targeted approach can be used in conjunction with CT or MRI scans to visualize where prostate cancer cells are residing.
Experts anticipate the PET-tracer procedure will soon become the new standard of care for detecting prostate cancer metastasis. In 2020, this technology received FDA approval based on Phase III clinical trials, which showed a substantially increased accuracy for detecting prostate metastasis compared to conventional imaging (bone and CT scans).
Men initially diagnosed with prostate cancer who are at risk for metastatic disease or previously treated but have developed recurrence evidenced by rising PSA are the best candidates for PSMA PET.