Kinetic analysis and optimisation of 18 F-rhPSMA-7.3 PET imaging of prostate cancer

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2021 Oct;48(11):3723-3731. doi: 10.1007/s00259-021-05346-8. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


Purpose: This phase 1 open-label study evaluated the uptake kinetics of a novel theranostic PET radiopharmaceutical, 18F-rhPSMA-7.3, to optimise its use for imaging of prostate cancer.

Methods: Nine men, three with high-risk localised prostate cancer, three with treatment-naïve hormone-sensitive metastatic disease and three with castration-resistant metastatic disease, underwent dynamic 45-min PET scanning of a target area immediately post-injection of 300 MBq 18F-rhPSMA-7.3, followed by two whole-body PET/CT scans acquired from 60 and 90 min post-injection. Volumes of interest (VoIs) corresponding to prostate cancer lesions and reference tissues were recorded. Standardised uptake values (SUV) and lesion-to-reference ratios were calculated for 3 time frames: 35-45, 60-88 and 90-118 min. Net influx rates (Ki) were calculated using Patlak plots.

Results: Altogether, 44 lesions from the target area were identified. Optimal visual lesion detection started 60 min post-injection. The 18F-rhPSMA-7.3 signal from prostate cancer lesions increased over time, while reference tissue signals remained stable or decreased. The mean (SD) SUV (g/mL) at the 3 time frames were 8.4 (5.6), 10.1 (7) and 10.6 (7.5), respectively, for prostate lesions, 11.2 (4.3), 13 (4.8) and 14 (5.2) for lymph node metastases, and 4.6 (2.6), 5.7 (3.1) and 6.4 (3.5) for bone metastases. The mean (SD) lesion-to-reference ratio increases from the earliest to the 2 later time frames were 40% (10) and 59% (9), respectively, for the prostate, 65% (27) and 125% (47) for metastatic lymph nodes and 25% (19) and 32% (30) for bone lesions. Patlak plots from lesion VoIs signified almost irreversible uptake kinetics. Ki, SUV and lesion-to-reference ratio estimates showed good agreement.

Conclusion: 18F-rhPSMA-7.3 uptake in prostate cancer lesions was high. Lesion-to-background ratios increased over time, with optimal visual detection starting from 60 min post-injection. Thus, 18F-rhPSMA-7.3 emerges as a very promising PET radiopharmaceutical for diagnostic imaging of prostate cancer.

Trial registration: NCT03995888 (24 June 2019).

Keywords: 18F; Kinetics; PET/CT; PSMA; rhPSMA.

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