Recent studies have suggested that C-11 choline positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT) scans can be utilized as a staging and potentially therapeutic tool in prostate cancer. The results of three studies, released during a meeting of the North Central Section of the American Urological Association, validate findings in Europe and expand the potential use of C-11 choline PET scans.
One study found that C-11 choline PET/CT scans can be used as a staging tool rather than multiple x-rays, but is not necessarily better. Two additional studies support the favorable claims made in recent medical literature about the use of PET scans to evaluate patients with recurrent prostate cancer. These findings are important because distinguishing localized disease recurrence from systemic recurrence is a vital step in optimizing treatment following primary treatment failure.
"Taken together, the three studies presented today represent an important validation of the C-11 choline PET/CT scan as a staging tool for patients with prostate cancer," says R. Jeffrey Karnes, M.D., senior author of all three papers. "We believe the use of these scans can improve the staging and treatment of this common form of cancer, while potentially reducing the cost of delivering the best possible care."
Positron emission tomography is an imaging test that uses a small amount of radioactive material to reveal how tissues and organs are functioning. A C-11 choline PET scan involves the injection into a vein of a small amount of C-11 choline, a radioactive form of the vitamin choline. Clinicians then use a scanner and computer to make detailed pictures of areas where the C-11 choline collects. Since cancer cells take up more C-11 choline than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer in the body.
Summary of the Three Studies
About Prostate Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer affects approximately one in six American men, and is the second most common cancer among this patient group, behind skin cancer. While death from prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, and more than 240,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year, it is treatable. More than 2 million prostate cancer survivors live in the United States today.
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