Advanced Imaging Technique for the Detection and Visualization of Metastatic Prostate Cancer in Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer Patients and those with Recurrent Prostate Cancer
Thirty percent of patients treated for prostate cancer — and more than 50 percent in high-risk cases — eventually develop potentially life-threatening recurrences, which are often detected when their prostate-specific antigen levels start rising on routine blood tests. Unfortunately, standard imaging tests aren’t good at determining where cancer cells are located
68Ga-PSMA PET/CT imaging, or PSMA-PET imaging for short, represents a major advance in detecting prostate cancer. At UCLA, with the availability of PSMA-PET imaging patients now have a new option of detecting prostate cancer cells anywhere in the body more accurately than traditional methods. The PSMA-PET imaging test is currently being offered in a UCLA nuclear medicine clinic as part of a diagnostic clinical trial.
The PSMA-PET imaging test works by marking an antigen receptor that sits on the surface of every prostate cancer cell, called PSMA, with a radioactive peptide, Gallium-68. This process allows the cancer cells to be detected wherever they are located, including outside of the pelvic region.
PSMA-PET imaging offers high sensitivity and specificity. Because the test looks specifically for the antigen that sits on prostate cancer cells, it finds these cancer cells wherever they are located. PSMA-PET allows our UCLA team of doctors to make more informed treatment decisions.
The procedure is similar to other PET/CT scans. The patient is given an intravenous injection of the radioisotope (68Ga), followed an hour later by an intravenous injection of contrast dye for the CT portion of the PET/CT scan. The actual scan time is about 20 minutes. There are no common side effects or significant risks, and the procedure takes a maximum of two hours from start to finish.
A multidisciplinary team of UCLA physicians are the study investigators for the first U.S.-based PSMA-PET diagnostic clinical trial that began in September 2016. The results of the study will be submitted to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel. The team of UCLA experts include: Johannes Czernin, MD, Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and Chief, UCLA Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division; Robert E. Reiter, MD, Bing Professor of Urologic Oncology and Director, UCLA Prostate Cancer Program; Martin Allen-Auerbach, MD, Director of Nuclear Medicine and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology; Andrew Quon, MD, Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology; Matthew Rettig, MD, Professor of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology.
“With this test, cancer cells light up like lightbulbs on a Christmas tree,” says Johannes Czernin, MD, chief of the UCLA Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division. “This test has had a tremendous and immediate impact on prostate cancer patients,” says Dr. Reiter, director of UCLA’s prostate cancer program. “They can really benefit from this.”
UCLA urologist Robert Reiter, MD, presented a live-streaming webinar to discuss Ga-PSMA PET CT, a new method for detection and visualization of metastatic prostate cancer not previously visible with conventional and molecular imaging techniques. Ga-PSMA PET CT is now offered at UCLA and aims to improve management of recurrent and high-risk cancers.
View webinar video >
For more information about prostate cancer treatment in Los Angeles and to make an appointment with a UCLA prostate cancer specialist, call (310) 794-7700.