Molecular Imaging and Biology

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 558–566 | Cite as

Combined Early and Late [68Ga]PSMA-HBED-CC PET Scans Improve Lesion Detectability in Biochemical Recurrence of Prostate Cancer with Low PSA Levels

  • M. HohbergEmail author
  • C. Kobe
  • P. Täger
  • J. Hammes
  • M. Schmidt
  • F. Dietlein
  • M. Wild
  • A. Heidenreich
  • A. Drzezga
  • M. Dietlein
Research Article



Our aim was to evaluate the benefit of early (1 h post-injection (p.i.)) and late (3 h p.i.) [68Ga]PSMA-HBED-CC positron emission tomography (PET)/x-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging for detection of biochemical recurrence (BCR) of prostate cancer (PCa).


Seventy patients with BCR of the PCa and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels of less than 2.0 μg/l were subjected to [68Ga]PSMA-HBED-CC PET (mean injected activity 180 MBq). While early imaging contained whole body scans, late imaging was confined to the pelvis and the lower abdomen. Uptake in suspicious lesions was analyzed by peak and maximum standardized uptake values (SUVpeak/max). Tumor-to-background ratios were calculated for all lesions in which the liver served as reference organ. The Wilcoxon matched-pair signed-rank test was used to compare the uptake in suspicious lesions between early and late imaging. Follow-up data were used to validate the existence of the additionally detected lesions.


Forty-four of the 70 patients thus examined were interpreted as PSMA-positive in early and/or late scans while 26 remained without suspicion of PSMA tracer uptake. A total of 70 suspicious lesions were analyzed. Ten tumor-suspicious lesions from seven different patients were better or exclusively visible in the late measurements while three tumor-suspicious lesions from three different patients were better or exclusively visible in the early images. A validation by follow-up data was possible for 11 of these 13 additionally detected lesions. In direct comparison between early and late imaging, the mean SUVmax in PSMA-positive lesions was 74 % higher (p < 0.001) and the mean SUVpeak was 36 % higher (p = 0.001) in the late scans. The SUVmean in the reference regions was decreasing in the late measurements, whereas the mean TBR increased by a factor of 3 (p < 0.001). Taking confirmed lesions only into account, we estimated a 10 % gain in additionally detected PSMA-positive lesions (7/70) within the patient cohort.


The time period between injection and data acquisition influences the detection rate of [68Ga]PSMA-HBED-CC PET/CT. In biochemical recurrence with low PSA levels, late [68Ga]PSMA-HBED-CC PET/CT imaging offers frequent advantages with regard to lesion contrast.

Key words

[68Ga]PSMA-HBED-CC PET Early and late scans Lesion detectability PSMA 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This analysis was conducted in accordance with the Institutional Review Board (IRB). All patients gave written informed consent to PET imaging and inclusion of their data in a retrospective analysis. All procedures were performed in compliance with the regulations of the local authorities responsible (District Administration of Cologne, Germany).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineUniversity Hospital of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Cancer Center CologneUniversity Hospital of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Department of Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of UrologyUniversity Hospital of CologneCologneGermany

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