A prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a new type of nuclear medicine procedure for men with prostate cancer. PSMA PET scans are currently most commonly used in two different clinical scenarios:
- In men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer who are at risk of having the disease spread outside the prostate (this is called metastasis).
- In men who have previously been treated for their prostate cancer with curative intent (e.g. with surgery and/or radiation) and now have suspected persistent or recurrent disease-based rising levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in their blood.
The PSMA PET scan is now available at Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital’s Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre (KUTRRH-IMIC). Introducing PSMA-PET has been a milestone for KUTRRH-IMIC bringing hope to Kenyans and the larger Sub-Saharan region.
How PSMA Works
As the first public facility offering the PSMA service, it is truly a game changer in precision cancer diagnosis targeting prostate cancer. PSMA-PET can detect prostate cancer cells that are hiding in lymph nodes that appear normal in size, even when the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level is low.
It is also useful for finding prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. This means that it can identify prostate cancer that is both in and outside the prostate gland. The PSMA scan is currently the best scan available for men with persistent or recurrent prostate cancer after treatment.
Doctors now use this information to plan treatment and determine if a treatment is working or needs to be changed. In addition, access to PSMA-PET scans will lead to the availability of effective and targeted radionuclide treatment for prostate cancer. Despite the advantages of PSMA, there may be instances where other types of scans may be the imaging methods of choice.
Nonetheless, Kenyans can rely on the state-of-the-art facilities and experienced multi-disciplinary team at KUTRRH to perform the PSMA and any other imaging tests at global standards, ensuring nobody is left behind.
Dr. Akintunde Orunmuyi Nuclear Physician IMIC