In the above figures, the prostate cancer was diagnosed with a PSMA-PET scan (left image) and then treated with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Six months after HIFU treatment, the PSMA-PET was negative (right image). The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level went from 10.0 to 1.4.
Researchers are also studying the use of PSMA to detect recurring prostate cancer. When screening for prostate cancer, physicians monitor a patient’s PSA level. By using PSMA-PET imaging, the PSMA tracer can attach to the recurring cancer and highlight it in the imaging so they can see the cancer better than through an MRI alone.
PSMA also is used to find aggressive prostate cancer that has spread outside the prostate. Because PSMA is a tracer that attaches to prostate cancer, it will also attach to cancer that may have spread to other parts of the body (see figure below). The PET imaging then shows urologists where the cancer has spread and helps them determine the best treatment options. The images below show an example of positive PSMA-PET images (left) compared with 11C-acetate-PET (right) in a prostate cancer patient with recurrent prostate cancer to lymph nodes.