Operational characteristics of (11)c-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography for prostate cancer with biochemical recurrence after initial treatment

J Urol. 2013 Apr;189(4):1308-13. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.10.069. Epub 2012 Oct 30.


Purpose: We examined the performance of (11)C-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography for its ability to delineate prostate cancer distribution and extent after initial therapy.

Materials and methods: A consecutive series retrospective review was performed of all patients with prostate cancer who were evaluated using (11)C-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography from September 2007 to November 2010 at the Mayo Clinic. Statistical analysis was performed to determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and prostate specific antigen threshold for the detection of recurrent lesions.

Results: In the study period 176 patients with biochemical recurrence after primary treatment failure underwent (11)C-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography. Using patient based analysis (11)C-choline positron emission tomography yielded a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of 93%, 76%, 91% and 81%, respectively. Of the 176 positron emission tomography/computerized tomography scans performed 56 (32%) were deemed clinically useful as defined by the ability to identify lesions not delineated using conventional imaging, thereby prompting changes in clinical management. The optimal prostate specific antigen for lesion detection was 2.0 ng/ml. On multivariate analysis prostate specific antigen at positron emission tomography (HR 1.37, p = 0.04) and clinical stage at initial diagnosis of prostate cancer (HR 5.19, p = 0.0035) were significant predictors of positive (11)C-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography.

Conclusions: (11)C-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography performs well in men with biochemical recurrence after primary treatment failure. The optimal prostate specific antigen value for lesion detection is approximately 2.0 ng/ml. We found that (11)C-choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography substantially enhances the rate of prostate cancer lesion detection by approximately 32% beyond what can be garnered using conventional imaging techniques and at a lower prostate specific antigen value.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbon Radioisotopes*
  • Choline*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Choline