INTRODUCTION/AIM: Correct staging of patients with prostate cancer is important for treatment planning and prognosis. Although bone scintigraphy with (99m)Tc-phosphonates (BS) is generally advised for staging by guidelines in high risk prostate cancer, this imaging technique is hampered by a high rate of inconclusive results and moderate accuracy. Potentially better imaging techniques for detection of bone metastases such as (18)F-sodiumfluoride PET/CT (NaF PET/CT) are therefore being evaluated. In this observational cohort study we evaluate the performance and clinical impact of both BS and NaF PET/CT in primary staging of patients with prostate cancer.
METHODS: The first of two cohorts consisted of patients who received a BS while the second included patients who received a NaF PET/CT for primary staging of prostate cancer. For both cohorts the number of positive, negative and equivocal findings, calculated diagnostic performance of the imaging modality in terms of sensitivity and specificity, as well as the impact on clinical management were studied. The ranges of the diagnostic performance were calculated both assuming that equivocal findings were positive and assuming that they were negative for bone metastases. For the NaF PET/CT cohort the number of patients with signs of lymph node metastases on low dose CT were also recorded, including the impact of these findings on clinical management.
RESULTS: One-hundred-and-four patients underwent NaF PET/CT, whereas 122 patients underwent BS. Sensitivities of 97-100 and 84-95% and specificities of 98-100 and 72-100% were found on a patient basis for detection of bone metastases with NaF PET/CT and BS, respectively. Equivocal findings warranted further diagnostic procedures in 2% of the patients in the NaF cohort and in 16% in the BS cohort. In addition NaF PET/CT demonstrated lymph node metastases in 50% of the included patients, of which 25% showed evidence of lymph node metastases only.
CONCLUSION: Our data indicate better diagnostic performance of NaF PET/CT compared to BS for detection of bone metastases in primary staging of prostate cancer patients. Less equivocal findings are encountered with NaF PET/CT. Moreover, NaF PET/CT has additional value over BS since lymph node metastases are encountered frequently.