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Rationale for Modernising Imaging in Advanced Prostate Cancer

Eur Urol Focus, 2016 doi: 10.1016/j.euf.2016.06.018<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euf.2016.06.018> [Epub ahead of print]



To effectively manage patients with advanced prostate cancer (APC), it is essential to have accurate, reproducible, and validated methods for detecting and quantifying the burden of bone and soft tissue metastases and for assessing their response to therapy. Current standard of care imaging with bone and computed tomography (CT) scans have significant limitations for the assessment of bone metastases in particular.


We aimed to undertake a critical comparative review of imaging methods used for diagnosis and disease monitoring of metastatic APC from the perspective of their availability and ability to assess disease presence, extent, and response of bone and soft tissue disease.

Evidence acquisition

An expert panel of radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with the greatest experience of imaging in advanced prostate cancer prepared a review of the practicalities, performance, merits, and limitations of currently available imaging methods.

Evidence synthesis

Meta-analyses showed that positron emission tomography (PET)/CT with different radiotracers and whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) are more accurate for bone lesion detection than CT and bone scans (BSs). At a patient level, the pooled sensitivities for bone disease by using choline (CH)–PET/CT, WB-MRI, and BS were 91% (95% confidence interval [CI], 83–96%), 97% (95% CI, 91–99%), and 79% (95% CI, 73–83%), respectively. The pooled specificities for bone metastases detection using CH-PET/CT, WB-MRI, and BS were 99% (95% CI, 93–100%), 95% (95% CI, 90–97%), and 82% (95% CI, 78–85%), respectively. The ability of PET/CT and WB-MRI to assess therapeutic benefits is promising but has not been comprehensively evaluated. There is variability in the cost, availability, and quality of PET/CT and WB-MRI.


Standardisation of acquisition, interpretation, and reporting of WB-MRI and PET/CT scans is required to assess the performance of these techniques in clinical trials of treatment approaches in APC.

Patient summary

PET/CT and whole-body MRI scans have the potential to improve detection and to assess response to treatment of all states of advanced prostate cancer. Consensus recommendations on quality standards, interpretation, and reporting are needed but will require validation in clinical trials of established and new treatment approaches.

Take Home Message

Modern imaging techniques. including whole-body magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography/computed tomography scans with a variety of tracers, have the potential to address the unmet need for robust imaging that allows tumour detection and therapy evaluations in advanced prostate cancer.

Keywords: Advanced prostate cancer, Metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, Bone scans, PET/CT scans, Whole-body MRI, Diffusion MRI, Response assessment, Metastasis detection.


a Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, Mount Vernon Hospital, Middlesex, UK

b Department of Radiology, Centre du Cancer and Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

c Cancer Research UK Cancer Imaging Centre, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey, UK

d Department of Radiology, Medical Imaging Research Centre, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

e Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

f Service of Nuclear Medicine, S.Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

g Department of Radiology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy

h Department of Radiology, German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

i Department of Urology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

j Drug Development Unit, Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Trust, Surrey, UK

Corresponding author. Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, Mount Vernon Hospital, Rickmansworth Road, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2RN, UK. Tel.: +44 0 1923 844751; fax: +44 0 1923 844600.