Role of whole-body 18F-choline PET/CT in disease detection in patients with biochemical relapse after radical treatment for prostate cancer

Radiol Med. 2008 Sep;113(6):895-904. doi: 10.1007/s11547-008-0263-8. Epub 2008 Apr 14.
[Article in English, Italian]


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Choline*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / blood
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatectomy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Choline