Targeting PSMA by radioligands in non-prostate disease—current status and future perspectives

  • Philipp Backhaus
  • Benjamin Noto
  • Nemanja Avramovic
  • Lena Sophie Grubert
  • Sebastian Huss
  • Martin Bögemann
  • Lars Stegger
  • Matthias Weckesser
  • Michael Schäfers
  • Kambiz Rahbar
Review Article



Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is the up-and-coming target for molecular imaging of prostate cancer. Despite its name, non-prostate-related PSMA expression in physiologic tissue as well as in benign and malignant disease has been reported in various publications. Unlike in prostate cancer, PSMA expression is only rarely observed in non-prostate tumor cells. Instead, expression occurs in endothelial cells of tumor-associated neovasculature, although no endothelial expression is observed under physiologic conditions. The resulting potential for tumor staging in non-prostate malignant tumors has been demonstrated in first patient studies. This review summarizes the first clinical studies and deduces future perspectives in staging, molecular characterization, and PSMA-targeted radionuclide therapy based on histopathologic examinations of PSMA expression.


The non-exclusivity of PSMA in prostate cancer opens a window to utilize the spectrum of available radioactive PSMA ligands for imaging and molecular characterization and maybe even therapy of non-prostate disease.


Prostate cancer PSMA Prostate-specific membrane antigen Endothelium PET/CT Angiogenesis 



P.B. is supported by a clinician-scientist position through DFG SFB 1009 “Breaking Barriers”, Münster, Germany.

Compliance with ethical standards


The University of Münster received consulting fees from ABX Advanced Biochemical Compounds, Radeberg, Germany for KR, MB. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest according to the subject and matter of the presented article.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no financial or non-financial competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp Backhaus
    • 1
    • 2
  • Benjamin Noto
    • 1
  • Nemanja Avramovic
    • 1
  • Lena Sophie Grubert
    • 1
  • Sebastian Huss
    • 3
  • Martin Bögemann
    • 4
  • Lars Stegger
    • 1
  • Matthias Weckesser
    • 1
  • Michael Schäfers
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kambiz Rahbar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineUniversity Hospital MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.European Institute for Molecular imaging (EIMI), University of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Gerhard Domagk Institute for PathologyUniversity Hospital of MünsterMünsterGermany
  4. 4.Department of UrologyUniversity Hospital MünsterMünsterGermany

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