Role of 18F-choline PET/CT in suspicion of relapse following definitive radiotherapy for prostate cancer

  • Sotirios Chondrogiannis
  • Maria Cristina Marzola
  • Alice Ferretti
  • Anna Margherita Maffione
  • Lucia Rampin
  • Gaia Grassetto
  • Cristina Nanni
  • Patrick M. Colletti
  • Domenico RubelloEmail author
Original Article



The aims of the study were (a) to evaluate the diagnostic role, by means of positive detection rate (PDR), of 18F-choline (CH) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT in patients with prostate cancer treated with radiotherapy, with curative intent, and suspicion of relapse during follow-up, (b) to correlate the PDR with trigger prostate-specific antigen (PSA), (c) to investigate the possible influence of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) at the time of scan on PDR and (d) to assess distribution of metastatic spread.


18F-CH PET/CT exams from 46 consecutive patients (mean age 71.3 years, range 51–84 years) with prostate cancer (mean Gleason score 6.4, range 5–8) previously treated by definitive radiotherapy and with suspicion of relapse with negative or inconclusive conventional imaging were retrospectively evaluated. Of the 46 patients, 12 were treated with brachytherapy and 34 with external beam radiation therapy. Twenty-three patients were under ADT at the time of the examination. Trigger PSA was measured within 1 month before the exam (mean value 6.5 ng/ml, range 1.1–49.4 ng/ml). Patients were subdivided into four groups according to their PSA level: 1.0 < PSA ≤ 2.0 ng/ml (11 patients), 2.0 < PSA ≤ 4.0 ng/ml (16 patients), 4.0 < PSA ≤ 6.0 ng/ml (9 patients) and PSA > 6.0 ng/ml (10 patients). Correlation between ADT and PDR was investigated as well as between PSA and distribution of metastatic spread.


The overall PDR of 18F-CH PET/CT was 80.4 % (37/46 patients), increasing with the increase of trigger PSA. PDR of 18F-CH PET/CT is not influenced by ADT (p = 0.710) even if PET performed under ADT demonstrated an overall higher PDR (82.6 %). The majority of the patients (59 %, 22/37 patients) showed local relapse only, confined to the prostatic bed; 22 % of the PET/CT-positive patients (8/37 patients) showed distant relapse only (bone localizations in all of them), while the remaining 19 % (7/37 patients) showed both local and distant (lymph node and bone) spread.


18F-CH PET/CT showed a high overall detection rate (80 %), proportional to the trigger PSA (both for local and distant relapse) not influenced by ADT. 18F-CH PET/CT is proposed as a first-line imaging procedure in restaging prostate cancer patients primarily treated with radiotherapy.


Prostate cancer Definitive radiotherapy 18F-Choline PET/CT Biochemical relapse Hormone therapy 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sotirios Chondrogiannis
    • 1
  • Maria Cristina Marzola
    • 1
  • Alice Ferretti
    • 2
  • Anna Margherita Maffione
    • 1
  • Lucia Rampin
    • 1
  • Gaia Grassetto
    • 1
  • Cristina Nanni
    • 3
  • Patrick M. Colletti
    • 4
  • Domenico Rubello
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear Medicine, PET/CT Centre“Santa Maria della Misericordia” HospitalRovigoItaly
  2. 2.Medical Physics and Biostatistics Unit“Santa Maria della Misericordia” HospitalRovigoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear Medicine, PET/CT Centre“Sant’Orsola” University HospitalBolognaItaly
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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