Predictive factors of [11C]choline PET/CT in patients with biochemical failure after radical prostatectomy

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Abstract

Purpose

Detection of recurrence in prostate cancer patients with biochemical failure after radical prostatectomy by [11C]choline PET/CT depends on the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. The role of other clinical and pathological variables has not been explored.

Methods

A total of 2,124 prostate cancer patients referred to our Institution for [11C]choline PET/CT from December 2004 to January 2007 for restaging of disease were retrospectively considered for this study. Inclusion criteria were: previous treatment by radical prostatectomy, and biochemical failure, defined as at least two consecutive PSA measurements of >0.2 ng/ml. These criteria were met for 358 patients. Binary logistic analysis was used to investigate the predictive factors of [11C]choline PET/CT. PET/CT findings were validated using criteria based on histological analysis, and follow-up clinical and imaging data. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to assess the performance of [11C]choline PET/CT in relation to PSA levels.

Results

The mean PSA level was 3.77 ± 6.94 ng/ml (range 0.23–45 ng/ml; median 1.27 ng/ml). PET/CT was positive for recurrence in 161 of 358 patients (45%). On an anatomical region basis, [11C]choline pathological uptake was observed in lymph nodes (107/161 patients, 66%), prostatectomy bed (55/161 patients, 34%), and in the skeleton (46/161 patients, 29%). PET/CT findings were validated using histological criteria (46/358, 13%), and follow-up clinical and imaging criteria (312/358, 87%). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and overall accuracy were, respectively, 85%, 93%, 91%, 87%, and 89%. In multivariate analysis, high PSA levels, advanced pathological stage, previous biochemical failure and older age were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with an increased risk of positive PET/CT findings. The percentage of positive scans was 19% in those with a PSA level between 0.2 and 1 ng/ml, 46% in those with a PSA level between 1 and 3 ng/ml, and 82% in those with a PSA level higher than 3 ng/ml. ROC analysis showed that PET/CT-positive and PET/CT-negative patients could be best distinguished using a PSA cut-off value of 1.4 ng/ml.

Conclusions

In addition to PSA levels, pathological stage, previous biochemical failure and age should be considered by physicians when referring prostate cancer patients with biochemical failure after radical prostatectomy to [11C]choline PET/CT.