The detection of lymph-node metastases (N1) with conventional imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) is inadequate for primarily diagnosed prostate cancer (PCa). Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET/CT is successfully introduced for the staging of (biochemically) recurrent PCa. Besides the frequently used 68gallium-labelled PSMA tracers, 18fluorine-labelled PSMA tracers are available. This study examined the diagnostic accuracy of 18F-DCFPyL (PSMA) PET/CT for lymph-node staging in primary PCa.
This was a prospective, multicentre cohort study. Patients with primary PCa underwent 18F-DCFPyL PET/CT prior to robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) with extended pelvic lymph-node dissection (ePLND). Patients were included between October 2017 and January 2020. A Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre (MSKCC) nomogram risk probability of ≥ 8% of lymph-node metastases was set to perform ePLND. All images were reviewed by two experienced nuclear physicians, and were compared with post-operative histopathologic results.
A total of 117 patients was analysed. Lymph-node metastases (N1) were histologically diagnosed in 17/117 patients (14.5%). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value for the 18F-DCFPyL PET/CT detection of pelvic lymph-node metastases on a patient level were 41.2% (confidence interval (CI): 19.4–66.5%), 94.0% (CI 86.9–97.5%), 53.8% (CI 26.1–79.6%) and 90.4% (CI 82.6–95.0%), respectively.
18F-DCFPyL PET/CT showed a high specificity (94.4%), yet a limited sensitivity (41.2%) for the detection of pelvic lymph-node metastases in primary PCa. This implies that current PSMA PET/CT imaging cannot replace diagnostic ePLND. Further research is necessary to define the exact place of PSMA PET/CT imaging in the primary staging of PCa.