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Impact of 11C-choline PET/CT on clinical decision making in recurrent prostate cancer: results from a retrospective two-centre trial

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European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Aims and scope Submit manuscript

An Erratum to this article was published on 19 September 2014



The aim of this retrospective two-centre study was to investigate the clinical impact of 11C-choline PET/CT on treatment management decisions in patients with recurrent prostate cancer (rPCa) after radical therapy.


Enrolled in this retrospective study were 150 patients (95 from Bologna, 55 from Würzburg) with rPCa and biochemical relapse (PSA mean ± SD 4.3 ± 5.5 ng/mL, range 0.2–39.4 ng/mL) after radical therapy. The intended treatment before PET/CT was salvage radiotherapy of the prostatic bed in 95 patients and palliative androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in 55 patients. The effective clinical impact of 11C-choline PET/CT was rated as major (change in therapeutic approach), minor (same treatment, but modified therapeutic strategy) or none. Multivariate binary logistic regression analysis included PSA level, PSA kinetics, ongoing ADT, Gleason score, TNM, age and time to relapse.


Changes in therapy after 11C-choline PET/CT were implemented in 70 of the 150 patients (46.7 %). A major clinical impact was observed in 27 patients (18 %) and a minor clinical impact in 43 (28.7 %). 11C-choline PET/CT was positive in 109 patients (72.7 %) detecting local relapse (prostate bed and/or iliac lymph nodes and/or pararectal lymph nodes) in 64 patients (42.7 %). Distant relapse (paraaortic and/or retroperitoneal lymph nodes and/or bone lesions) was seen in 31 patients (20.7 %), and both local and distant relapse in 14 (9.3 %). A significant difference was observed in PSA level and PSA kinetics between PET-positive and PET-negative patients (p < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, PSA level, PSA doubling time and ongoing ADT were significant predictors of a positive scan (p < 0.05). In statistical analysis no significant differences were observed between the Bologna and Würzburg patients (p > 0.05). In both centres the same criteria to validate PET-positive findings were used: in 17.3 % of patients by histology and in 82.7 % of patients by correlative imaging and/or clinical follow-up (follow-up mean 20.5 months, median 18.3 months, range 6.2–60 months).


11C-Choline PET/CT had a significant impact on therapeutic management in rPCa patients. It led to an overall change in 46.7 % of patients, with a major clinical change implemented in 18 % of patients. Further prospective studies are needed to evaluate the effect of such treatment changes on patient survival.

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Correspondence to Francesco Ceci.

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Ceci, F., Herrmann, K., Castellucci, P. et al. Impact of 11C-choline PET/CT on clinical decision making in recurrent prostate cancer: results from a retrospective two-centre trial. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 41, 2222–2231 (2014).

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