According to Newswise, the FDA recently approved a new prostate cancer imaging technique developed by researchers at UCLA and UCSF. The imaging technique, called prostate-specific membrane antigen PET imaging (PSMA PET), is able to identify cancerous legions in the prostate, pelvic region, and other areas of the body. If the cancer has metastasized, this technique is better able to find them for localized and selective treatment. Learn more about the clinical trial that spurred this approval.
According to UCLA, the PSMA PET technique works by:
using a radioactive tracer, called 68Ga-PSMA-11, which is manufactured on site at UCLA Health. Nuclear medicine physicians inject this tracer which attaches itself to proteins known as prostate-specific membrane antigens (PSMA).
Typically, tumors caused by prostate cancer express too much PSMA. As a result, the tracer is able to identify the specific location of related lesions or tumors. UCLA also explains that researchers compared PSMA PET with the current standard-of-care, called fluciclovine PET.
In research done by both UCLA and UCSF, researchers discovered that patients who had previously undergone a radical prostatectomy, but their cancer returned, benefited greatly from PSMA PET. In fact, this new imaging technique identified more prostate tumors or lesions than the standard-of-care. Doctors may also supplement CT and MRI scans with information from PSMA PET.
According to the Mayo Clinic, prostate cancer occurs in the prostate,:
small walnut-shaped gland in males that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Doctors are not exactly sure what causes prostate cancer in men, although it is typically fairly common. However, risk factors include being obese, being older than 50, having a family history of prostate cancer, or being Black. If you have BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which often contribute to breast cancer, this also increases the risk. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent the cancer from metastasizing and spreading to other areas of the body.
In the earlier stages, people with prostate cancer may experience no symptoms. However, as symptoms appear, they may include:
- Blood in the semen and/or urine
- Bone pain
- Unintended weight loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Difficulty urinating