According to an article in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers compared a PET/CT scan using the radiotracer F-18 DCFBC to conventional imaging modalities — an expanded Tc-99m-methylene diphosphonate (MDP) bone scan and contrast-enhanced CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis — to detect prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is associated with prostate cancer metastases.

In a study of 17 men the researchers found that the F-18 DCFBC PET scans were able to detect a larger number of prostate cancer lesions than the other imaging modalities. The researchers found 592 positive lesions compared to 520 identified by the other methods. They also found that the F-18 DCFBC PET was much better at detecting lesions in the lymph nodes, bone and visceral tissue, and found a large proportion of lesions that would be negative or ambiguous using the other imaging methods.

One of the researchers, Dr. Steven Cho, an associate professor of nuclear medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said PET scans have the potential to replace CT and bone scans. Further trials may also show that earlier detection and treatment could lead to better outcomes.

“The value is not necessarily (in) replacing those two scans,” Cho said. “I think it’s really much more accurate. This will pick up the disease, and the location of the disease, much earlier.”

Men with advanced prostate cancer should check with their doctors about the availability of a PET?CT scan with the  radiotracer F-18 DCFBC