Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of whole body 18F-choline (FCH) positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) in detecting and localising disease recurrence in patients presenting biochemical relapse after radical treatment for prostate cancer.
Materials and methods: Fifty-six consecutive patients with increased serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels after radical prostatectomy were included in the study. None of them was receiving hormone treatment at the time of the examination or had been treated during the previous 6 months. All patients underwent whole-body 18F-choline PET imaging, and the pathological findings were compared with those of further imaging exams, biopsy and follow-up. On the basis of the PSA levels, we divided our patient population into three subgroups: PSA < or = 1, 1 < PSA < or = 5, and PSA > 5 ng/ml.
Results: Overall, the PET scan detected disease relapse in 42.9% of cases (24/56). PET sensitivity was closely related to serum PSA levels, showing values of 20%, 44% and 81.8% in the PSA < or = 1, 1 < PSA < or = 5 and PSA > 5 ng/ml subgroups, respectively.
Conclusions: In patients with biochemical relapse after radical treatment for prostate cancer, 18F-choline PET-CT represents a single step, whole-body, noninvasive study that allows disease detection and localisation. The disease detection rate is related to serum PSA levels.