Bone scintigraphy as a gatekeeper for the detection of bone metastases in patients with prostate cancer: comparison with Ga-68 PSMA PET/CT



Gallium-68-labeled prostate-specific membrane antigen (Ga-PSMA) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) is a valuable diagnostic tool for the detection of bone metastases in patients with prostate cancer (PCa). However, bone scintigraphy (BS) with technetium-labeled diphosphonates is cheap and widely available for the same patient population. PSMA PET comes with a cost, and financial constraints in the present economic environment may require its more selective use. In this study, we aimed to compare the diagnostic performance of BS with Ga-PSMA PET/CT for the detection of bone metastases in patients with PCa and correlate the results with various clinical and biochemical variables.

Materials and methods

Ninety-five patients who underwent Ga-PSMA PET/CT and BS within 3 months for newly diagnosed or recurrent PCa were extracted from our database. Lesion, region and patient-based analyses were performed. Clinical and imaging follow-up was used as the reference test. Results were compared with tumor grade, serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) values.


On the patient-based analysis, 75% (42/56) and 98.2% (55/56) of the patients with bone metastases were correctly diagnosed by BS and Ga-PSMA PET, respectively. In 26/95 patients with equivocal lesions on BS, Ga-PSMA PET correctly reclassified skeletal involvement in 11 and excluded metastases in 15 patients BS missed bone metastases in 3 patients. The true-positive rate of BS in patients with serum ALP ≥ 120U/L and PSA ≥ 50 ng/ml was 95.8% and 87.5 respectively.


Ga-PSMA is superior to BS for the evaluation of metastatic disease in patients with PCa. However, BS can also detect bone metastases in patients with PCa with a minimum sensitivity of 75%. Biochemical data are helpful to select patients with a high pretest probability who should undergo BS first as a part of the initial workup from an economic point of view. Due to its higher cost, Ga-PSMA PET should be performed in a selective group of patients when BS results are inconclusive or metastasis-directed therapy is planned.

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Correspondence to Murat Tuncel.

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Caglar, M., Tuncel, M., Yildiz, E. et al. Bone scintigraphy as a gatekeeper for the detection of bone metastases in patients with prostate cancer: comparison with Ga-68 PSMA PET/CT. Ann Nucl Med 34, 932–941 (2020).

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  • Prostate cancer
  • Bone metastases
  • Bone scan
  • PSMA
  • Bone scintigraphy