“This study has important implications for men who have a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, also known as biochemical recurrence, after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer,” says Jeffrey Karnes, M.D., a urological surgeon at Mayo Clinic. “In men with biochemical recurrence, determining where the disease has recurred is quite challenging, especially when the PSA level is low.”
According to Dr. Karnes, in the U.S., approximately 30 percent of patients who have had an initial prostate cancer surgically excised will suffer a recurrence and seek treatment. “Current imaging tests like conventional bone and CT scans are not sensitive enough to identify sites of recurrence, especially when the PSA value is lower than 10,” he says.
Dr. Karnes says the combination of C-11 choline PET scanning and multiparametric MRI, helps physicians accurately identify sites of recurrence at an average PSA of 2. More importantly, he says, “This type of staging allows us to identify sites of recurrent disease that can be potentially treated either surgically or with radiation.”
Dr. Karnes and his team also were able to describe patterns of prostate cancer recurrence. They found that nearly two-thirds of men in the study had recurrence limited to the pelvis, which potentially can be targeted for radiation therapy.