The Role of PSMA PET/CT

The Role of PSMA PET/CT

Go to

What is PSMA PET/CT?

PSMA PET/CT is a new specialised imaging technology that has been shown to accurately detect prostate cancer cells wherever they are in the body. It combines the x-ray functions of a computerised tomography (CT) with the sensitivity and accuracy of a PSMA PET scan to create an image of your body showing areas of prostate cancer.

Read more about PSMA PET/CT scans and what happens during this imaging test.

How is PSMA PET/CT beneficial in prostate cancer detection?

Staging has been previously done with imaging tests such as CT scans and bone scans. Despite their limitations, they remain very useful for cancer staging, clinical trials and monitoring cancer progression in metastatic disease among other applications.

This imaging test has many benefits for detecting prostate cancer, as it: 

  • Finds smaller cancers in your body that other scans may miss. 
  • Is more accurate at determining the stage of your cancer. 
  • Increases the chances of  determining if the cancer has or has not spread into other parts of your body (metastatic or advanced cancer) when you are first diagnosed.
  • Provides more accurate information for you and your doctor to choose the best treatments.
  • Provides more certainty and confidence in its results than CT or bone scan alone. 
  • Reduces the amount of radiation exposure, compared to using multiple CTs and bone scans.

How accurate is the PSMA PET/CT?

When tested on men who had high-risk, localised cancer (cancer with a high risk of spreading from the prostate), the research found that this new technology:

  • Was 92% accurate in detecting metastatic cancer, compared to only 65% for CT and bone scans combined.
  • Correctly identified 98% of men who did not have metastatic cancer, which was significantly higher than the 91% for CT and bone scans.
  • Correctly identified 85% of men who did have metastatic cancer, compared to only 38% for CT and bone scans.

When is a PSMA PET/CT scan recommended?

In Australia, the PSMA-PET/CT scan is mainly recommended if you:

  • Have been treated for localised prostate cancer but your PSA is rising (this is called recurrent prostate cancer).
  • Have been diagnosed with intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer and want to check that it has stayed within the prostate (localised) or spread.

A PSMA PET/CT scan is especially useful in diagnosis or monitoring men at high-risk. It can also be used when a biopsy shows you have a high-risk cancer, but the CT and bones scans don’t show any signs that the cancer has spread.

PSMA PET/CT, along with genomic and biomarker testing and the new mpMRI technology, is helping to move the detection, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer into a more individualised approach.
Find out how the PSMA PET/CT scan works. If you need any more information about this imaging test reach out to your doctor or contact a PCFA nurse.

Key points

  • PSMA PET/CT is the newest and most accurate imaging test for detecting prostate cancer.
  • This scan has many benefits, including finding very small cancers that may be missed by other scans and more accurately staging cancers.
  • PSMA PET/CT has a higher level of accuracy for detecting and ruling out prostate cancer spread, compared to CT or bone scans.
  • This technology is helping to change prostate cancer diagnosis and management into a more individualised approach.
you may also be interested

Downloadable resources