One of the major challenges for all imaging modalities is accurate detection of prostate cancer (PCa) recurrence. Beyond the established Ga-PSMA, a novel promising PET tracer in PCa imaging is F-fluciclovine. For evaluating the advantages and disadvantages and the comparability, we conducted a prospective head-to-head comparison on F-fluciclovine and Ga-PSMA-11 in patients with biochemical recurrence of PCa.

58 patients with biochemical recurrence of PCa after definitive primary therapy were included. Both scans were performed within a time window of mean 9.4 days. All scans were visually analyzed independently on a patient-, region- and lesion-based analysis. All the examinations were performed in the same medical department using identical scanners at any time.

The overall detection rate for PCa recurrence was 79.3% in F-fluciclovine and 82.8% in Ga-PSMA-11 (P = 0.64). Local recurrence was detected in 37.9% on F-fluciclovine and in 27.6% on Ga-PSMA-11 (P = 0.03). Local pelvic lymph node recurrence was detected on F-fluciclovine versus Ga-PSMA-11 in 46.6% versus 50%, in extrapelvic lymph node metastases in 41.4% versus 51.7% and in bone metastases in 25.9% versus 36.2%. Lesion-based analysis showed identical findings in local pelvic lymph nodes in 39.7%, in extrapelvic lymph nodes in 22.4%, and in bone metastases in 13.8%.

The advantage of F-fluciclovine is detecting curable localized disease in close anatomical relation to the urinary bladder, whereas Ga-PSMA-11 fails because of accumulation of activity in the urinary bladder. F-fluciclovine is almost equivalent to Ga-PSMA-11 in detecting distant metastases of PCa recurrence.

Clinical nuclear medicine. 2019 Jul 05 [Epub ahead of print]

Birgit Pernthaler, Roman Kulnik, Christian Gstettner, Spela Salamon, Reingard M Aigner, Herbert Kvaternik

From the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz, Graz, Austria.