The Additive Diagnostic Value of Prostate-specific Membrane Antigen Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography to Multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging Triage in the Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer (PRIMARY): A Prospective Multicentre Study

Eur Urol. 2021 Dec;80(6):682-689. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2021.08.002. Epub 2021 Aug 28.


Background: Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is validated for the detection of clinically significant prostate cancer (csPCa), although patients with negative/equivocal MRI undergo biopsy for false negative concerns. In addition, 68Ga-PSMA-11 positron emission tomography/computed tomography (prostate-specific membrane antigen [PSMA]) may also identify csPCa accurately.

Objective: This trial aimed to determine whether the combination of PSMA + MRI was superior to MRI in diagnostic performance for detecting csPCa.

Design, setting, and participants: A prospective multicentre phase II imaging trial was conducted. A total of 296 men were enrolled with suspected prostate cancer, with no prior biopsy or MRI, recent MRI (6 mo), and planned transperineal biopsy based on clinical risk and MRI. In all, 291 men underwent MRI, pelvic-only PSMA, and systematic ± targeted biopsy.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values (negative predictive value [NPV] and positive predictive value) for csPCa were determined for MRI, PSMA, and PSMA + MRI. PSMA + MRI was defined as negative for PSMA negative Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS) 2/3 and positive for either MRI PI-RADS 4/5 or PSMA positive PI-RADS 2/3; csPCa was any International Society of Urological Pathology (ISUP) grade group ≥2 malignancy.

Results and limitations: Of the patients, 56% (n = 162) had csPCa; 67% had PI-RADS 3-5, 73% were PSMA positive, and 81% were combined PSMA + MRI positive. Combined PSMA + MRI improved NPV compared with MRI alone (91% vs 72%, test ratio = 1.27 [1.11-1.39], p < 0.001). Sensitivity also improved (97% vs 83%, p < 0.001); however, specificity was reduced (40% vs 53%, p = 0.011). Five csPCa cases were missed with PSMA + MRI (four ISUP 2 and one ISUP 3). Of all men, 19% (56/291) were PSMA + MRI negative (38% of PI-RADS 2/3) and could potentially have avoided biopsy, risking delayed csPCa detection in 3.1% men with csPCa (5/162) or 1.7% (5/291) overall.

Conclusions: PSMA + MRI improved NPV and sensitivity for csPCa in an MRI triaged population. Further randomised studies will determine whether biopsy can safely be omitted in men with a high clinical suspicion of csPCa but negative combined imaging.

Patient summary: The combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) + prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography reduces false negatives for clinically significant prostate cancer (csPCa) compared with MRI, potentially allowing a reduction in the number of prostate biopsies required to diagnose csPCa.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging; Positron emission tomography; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific membrane antigen.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gallium Isotopes
  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Triage


  • Gallium Isotopes
  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • gallium 68 PSMA-11