A new study published online ahead of print copies in the journal Urology concluded that a new method to image the prostate seems to be much better at detecting prostate cancer than any other test–radiographical, biopsy, or blood. In some cases, imaging in the study found more cancerous lesions than pathologists found when they examined prostate glands after removal.
In the study 25 men who opted to have a radical prostatectomy agreed to the new imaging test before the surgery. The results of the test and the pathologist examination were then compared. The imaging test involved a novel biomarker that latches on to cancerous cells within the prostate. This agent is given intravenously to subjects before a PET CT scan. Currently used tests are inexact, require an invasive biopsy, and may miss up to 66% of the cancers. One of the researchers said “It is hard to believe that hundreds of thousands of patients in the U.S. have been relying on biopsies to dictate their treatment, when two-thirds of these tests do not accurately reflect what is happening inside the prostate.”
The imaging agent, 64Cu-TP3805, that attaches onto receptors, VPAC1, that appear en mass when a cell morphs into cancer. The VPAC1 receptors cover the outside of the cancer cell in order to promote growth, The imaging agent consists of TP3805 which latches on to VPAC1 receptors, and Cu-64, a radiation emitting copper peptide, which is hooked onto TP3805. The PET imaging process captures the places on the prostate where 64Cu-TP3805 have landed on the cancerous cells. This agent has a short-life and decays quickly and has a lower whole body radiation risk than a CT scan.
In this study the test identified 105 of 107 cancerous lesions found during pathological exams pf the removed prostate (97% agreement). In addition, the test also identified nine additional leisions the pathological exam missed. Positive and negative lymph nodes were also correctly identified and in addition, some cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia and cysts. The team have also used the testing on other types of cancer. Results of this study exceeded the researchers goal of finding 80% of the cancers found pathologically by the test.