Gallium-68 Prostate-specific Membrane Antigen Positron Emission Tomography in Advanced Prostate Cancer-Updated Diagnostic Utility, Sensitivity, Specificity, and Distribution of Prostate-specific Membrane Antigen-avid Lesions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Eur Urol. 2020 Apr;77(4):403-417. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2019.01.049. Epub 2019 Feb 14.


Context: Accurate staging of high-risk localised, advanced, and metastatic prostate cancer is becoming increasingly more important in guiding local and systemic treatment. Gallium-68 prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) positron emission tomography (PET) has increasingly been utilised globally to assess the local and metastatic burden of prostate cancer, typically in biochemically recurrent or advanced disease. Following our previous meta-analysis, a high-volume series has been reported highlighting the utility of 68Ga-PSMA PET in this setting.

Objective: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to update reported predictors of positive 68Ga-PSMA PET according to prior therapy and proportion of positivity in various anatomical locations with sensitivity and specificity profiles.

Evidence acquisition: We performed critical reviews of MEDLINE, EMBASE, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Libraries, and Web of Science databases in July 2018 according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) statement. Quality assessment was performed using Quality Assessment if Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 tool. Meta-analyses of proportions were performed using a random-effect model. Summary sensitivity and specificity values were obtained by fitting bivariate hierarchical regression models.

Evidence synthesis: A total of 37 articles including 4790 patients were analysed. For patients with biochemical recurrence, positive 68Ga-PSMA PET scans increased with higher pre-PET prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. For PSA categories 0-0.19, 0.2-0.49, 0.5-0.99, 1-1.99, and ≥2ng/ml, the percentages of positive scans were 33%, 45%, 59%, 75%, and 95%, respectively. No significant differences in positivity were noted between Gleason sums ≤7 and ≥8. Significant differences in positivity after biochemical recurrence in the prostate bed were noted between radical prostatectomy (22%) and radiotherapy (52%) patients. On per-node analysis, high sensitivity (75%) and specificity (99%) were observed.

Conclusions: Ga-68-PSMA PET improves detection of metastases with biochemical recurrence, particularly at low pre-PET PSA levels of >0.2ng/ml (33%) and 0.2-0.5ng/ml (45%). Ga-68-PSMA-PET produces favourable sensitivity and specificity profiles on meta-analysis of pooled data. This analysis highlights different anatomic patterns of metastatic spread according to PSMA PET in the primary and biochemically recurrent settings.

Patient summary: Gallium-68 prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography is now an established imaging technique that has been developed in response to inadequacies in standard of care imaging modalities to improve the detection of metastatic disease in prostate cancer, particularly in the setting of disease recurrence. To date, this imaging modality in the setting of primary staging is controversial, given the paucity of data. In light of the growing body of evidence, we summarised the data to date to provide clinicians with an overview of this imaging modality.

Keywords: Biochemical recurrence; Imaging; Metastases; Positron emission tomography; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific antigen; Prostate-specific membrane antigen; Sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / immunology*
  • Edetic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Gallium Isotopes
  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oligopeptides*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography* / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Gallium Isotopes
  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • Oligopeptides
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • gallium 68 PSMA-11
  • Edetic Acid
  • FOLH1 protein, human
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II