11C-Choline positron-emission tomography/computed tomography and transrectal ultrasonography for staging localized prostate cancer


Ludwig Rinnab, University of Ulm, Department of Urology, Prittwitzstrasse 43, 89075 Ulm, Germany.
e-mail: ludwig.rinnab@medizin.uni-ulm.de



To evaluate and compare the role of 11C-choline positron emission tomography (PET) and transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) in the preoperative staging of clinically localized prostate cancer.


Fifty-five consecutive patients with biopsy-confirmed prostate cancer had TRUS and 11C-choline PET as a part of their clinical staging programme before radical retropubic prostatectomy (RP). The PET images were prospectively interpreted by a consensus decision of two nuclear medicine physicians and one radiologist with special expertise in the field. The TRUS was done by one experienced urologist. The criteria evaluated prospectively in each patient were extracapsular extension (ECE), seminal vesicle invasion (SVI) and bladder neck invasion (BNI). The results were compared with the histopathological findings after RP.


At pathology, 32 patients were classified pT2, 16 as pT3a and three had pT3b lesions. In four patients the histopathological examination showed pT4 with BNI. The overall accuracy of PET in defining local tumour stage (pT2 and pT3a−4) was 70%; the overall accuracy by TRUS was 26%. PET was more sensitive than TRUS for detecting ECE (pT3a) and SVI (pT3b) in advanced stages, and in pT4 stages. The sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) (95% confidence interval) in stages pT3a–pT4 for PET were 36 (17–59)% and 73 (39–89)%. The sensitivity and PPV in stages pT3a–pT4 for TRUS were 14 (3–35)% and 100 (29–100)%.


11C-choline PET and TRUS tended to understage prostate cancer. This series shows the current limited value of TRUS and PET for making treatment decisions in patients with clinically localized prostate cancer, especially if a nerve-sparing RP is considered. Treatment decisions should not be based on TRUS and 11C-choline PET findings alone. In future studies, the combination of metabolic and anatomical information of PET and endorectal magnetic resonance imaging should be evaluated, as this might optimize the preoperative staging in prostate cancer.