An evaluation of a highly specialist scan at Paul Strickland Scanner Centre that can catch prostate cancer earlier and possibly result in a cure has had a dramatic effect on patients’ management and treatment, according to a study carried out at the centre. Results of the study were presented at the 2019 UK Imaging and Oncology Congress in June.

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Pierre du Bois
13 August, 2019

An evaluation of a highly specialist scan at Paul Strickland Scanner Centre that can catch prostate cancer earlier and possibly result in a cure has had a dramatic effect on patients’ management and treatment, according to a study carried out at the centre. Results of the study were presented at the 2019 UK Imaging and Oncology Congress in June.

The centre is amongst the very limited number of facilities in the UK to offer 68Gallium-labelled Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) PET-CT scanning. This type of scan can catch and treat prostate cancer earlier – possibly resulting in a cure in some cases. Although PSMA PET-CT scanning was introduced at Paul Strickland in early 2018 as a direct result of demand from British oncologists, the centre has since attracted patients from as far away as America. It is now widely available on the NHS if your doctor believes you could benefit.
The scan is particularly useful for men who have been treated for prostate cancer and are in remission (but under surveillance with regular blood tests) to make sure that they are clear of the disease.

If the 68Ga PSMA scan shows disease, then the patient can receive further treatment. Some patients can be treated with a therapy version of PSMA, which will go to the areas of increased uptake on the diagnostic scan and attack the cancer.
Dr Wai-Lup Wong, Lead Consultant for PET-CT at Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, said: “The most sensitive test for prostate cancer is still a blood test to establish prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels.

When PSA levels are creeping up over time, or where they suddenly become very high, there will be a suspicion that cancer has returned and patients are usually sent for a scan. There is an increasing weight of evidence showing that a PSMA PET-CT scan is more sensitive than a traditionally used choline PET-CT scan for detecting disease.”

The tracer (a radioactive dye injected into the patient) used for the scan has a very short half-life, which means it needs to be produced very close to where patients are scanned and is therefore not available to many patients in the UK.
The tracer is made in Central London under a special licence, which means it can only be used on Saturdays when the traffic is light between the production facility 21 miles away and Paul Strickland Scanner Centre in Northwood.
Ms Vicki Major, our acting operational lead for PET-CT, said: “We have now scanned more than 100 patients at the centre, and the review included the first 36. The evaluation concluded that 100% of referrals met the Royal College of Radiologists referral criteria and that the management of patients was changed or reviewed in 100% of cases; 33% of clinical findings on the scans were negative but a negative result can contribute to patient management.

  • If you are affected by prostate cancer and want to know if a PSMA PET-CT scan is right for you, ask a member of your medical team for advice.
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