PSMA-Based [(18)F]DCFPyL PET/CT Is Superior to Conventional Imaging for Lesion Detection in Patients with Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Mol Imaging Biol. 2016 Jun;18(3):411-9. doi: 10.1007/s11307-016-0957-6.


Purpose: Current standard of care conventional imaging modalities (CIM) such as X-ray computed tomography (CT) and bone scan can be limited for detection of metastatic prostate cancer and therefore improved imaging methods are an unmet clinical need. We evaluated the utility of a novel second-generation low molecular weight radiofluorinated prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeted positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer, [(18)F]DCFPyL, in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

Procedures: Nine patients with suspected prostate cancer recurrence, eight with CIM evidence of metastatic prostate cancer and one with biochemical recurrence, were imaged with [(18)F]DCFPyL PET/CT. Eight of the patients had contemporaneous CIM for comparison. A lesion-by-lesion comparison of the detection of suspected sites of metastatic prostate cancer was carried out between PET and CIM. Statistical analysis for estimated proportions of inter-modality agreement for detection of metastatic disease was calculated accounting for intra-patient correlation using general estimating equation (GEE) intercept-only regression models.

Results: One hundred thirty-nine sites of PET positive [(18)F]DCFPyL uptake (138 definite, 1 equivocal) for metastatic disease were detected in the eight patients with available comparison CIM. By contrast, only 45 lesions were identified on CIM (30 definite, 15 equivocal). When lesions were negative or equivocal on CIM, it was estimated that a large portion of these lesions or 0.72 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.55-0.84) would be positive on [(18)F]DCFPyL PET. Conversely, of those lesions negative or equivocal on [(18)F]DCFPyL PET, it was estimated that only a very small proportion or 0.03 (95 % CI 0.01-0.07) would be positive on CIM. Delayed 2-h-post-injection time point PET yielded higher tumor radiotracer uptake and higher tumor-to-background ratios than an earlier 1-h-post-injection time point.

Conclusions: A novel PSMA-targeted PET radiotracer, [(18)F]DCFPyL, was able to a large number of suspected sites of prostate cancer, many of which were occult or equivocal by CIM. This study provides strong preliminary evidence for the use of this second-generation PSMA-targeted PET radiotracer for detection of metastatic prostate cancer and lends further support for the importance of PSMA-targeted PET imaging in prostate cancer.

Keywords: Bone scan; Computed tomography (CT); Metastatic prostate cancer; PET/CT; Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA); [18F]DCFPyL.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lysine / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Urea / analogs & derivatives*
  • Urea / chemistry
  • Whole Body Imaging


  • 2-(3-(1-carboxy-5-((6-fluoropyridine-3-carbonyl)amino)pentyl)ureido)pentanedioic acid
  • Urea
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Lysine