[(11)C]choline uptake with PET/CT for the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer: relation to PSA levels, tumour stage and anti-androgenic therapy

Giampiero Giovacchini, Maria Picchio, Elisa Coradeschi, Vincenzo Scattoni, Valentino Bettinardi, Cesare Cozzarini, Massimo Freschi, Ferruccio Fazio, Cristina Messa
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2008, 35 (6): 1065-73

PURPOSE: The accuracy of positron emission tomography (PET)/CT with [(11)C]choline for the detection of prostate cancer is not well established. We assessed the dependence of [(11)C]choline maximum standardized uptake values (SUV(max)) in the prostate gland on cell malignancy, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, Gleason score, tumour stage and anti-androgenic hormonal therapy.

METHODS: In this prospective study, PET/CT with [(11)C]choline was performed in 19 prostate cancer patients who subsequently underwent prostatectomy with histologic sextant analysis (group A) and in six prostate cancer patients before and after anti-androgenic hormonal therapy (bicalutamide 150 mg/day; median treatment of 4 months; group B).

RESULTS: In group A, based on a sextant analysis with a [(11)C]choline SUV(max) cutoff of 2.5 (as derived from a receiver-operating characteristic analysis), PET/CT showed sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and accuracy of 72, 43, 64, 51 and 60%, respectively. In the patient-by-patient analysis, no significant correlation was detected between SUV(max) and PSA levels, Gleason score or pathological stage. On the contrary, a significant (P < 0.05) negative correlation was detected between SUV(max) and anti-androgenic therapy both in univariate (r (2) = 0.24) and multivariate (r (2) = 0.48) analyses. Prostate [(11)C]choline uptake after bicalutamide therapy significantly (P < 0.05) decreased compared to baseline (6.4 +/- 4.6 and 11.8 +/- 5.3, respectively; group B).

CONCLUSION: PET/CT with [(11)C]choline is not suitable for the initial diagnosis and local staging of prostate cancer. PET/CT with [(11)C]choline could be used to monitor the response to anti-androgenic therapy.

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