Northside is first in U.S. to use new tool to detect recurrent prostate cancer
Posted on: October 17, 2016
A new molecular imaging agent aims to detect recurrent prostate cancer
earlier, when used in conjunction with PET (positron emission
Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, AxuminTM
(fluciclovine F 18) is the first FDA-approved F-18 PET imaging agent
indicated for use in patients with suspected recurrent prostate cancer.
Northside Hospital is the first hospital in the country to use the new
More cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed and treated at Atlanta’s
Northside Hospital than anywhere else in Georgia. The hospital offers a
comprehensive prostate cancer treatment program, which includes
screening and advanced diagnostic capabilities, leading-edge treatment
While most primary prostate cancer can be successfully treated,
recurrence occurs in up to one-third of patients. Of those who
experience biochemical recurrence (elevated PSA following a
prostatectomy or radiation therapy), approximately one-third develop
metastatic prostate cancer.
Axumin is designed specifically to target prostate cancer cells. Whereas typical
imaging agents (tracers) contain glucose that is absorbed by cancerous cells,
prostate cancer cells have a very low sensitivity to sugar. This new agent,
rather, consists of a synthetic amino acid that studies show prostate cancer
The drug is administered to patients prior to having PET imaging. The PET scan
then detects the tracer and creates an image of the patient’s anatomy. Because
more of the tracer is absorbed by the prostate cancer cells, the physician can
better see if disease is present, the location and extent of disease and how
rapidly it is spreading.
“To date, we have had few imaging tools available for the evaluation of men with
biochemically recurrent prostate cancer, said William C. Lavely, M.D., nuclear
medicine specialist, Northside Radiology Associates. “The approval of F-18
fluciclovine (Axumin) allows us to have an effective molecular imaging tool to
evaluate these patients and assist clinicians in directing further management.”
“Our initial experience is positive, demonstrating abnormal uptake in locations
of potential metastatic prostate cancer,” Dr. Lavely added.
Early detection is key in successfully treating many cancers. Next to skin
cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men (1 in 6
men will get it). However, it can be slow growing and take years to develop.
Beginning at age 50, men at average risk (no family history) for developing
prostate cancer should begin to discuss the pros and cons of screening with
their doctor. Men at high risk for developing prostate cancer should begin
discussing screening even sooner.
Read more about prostate cancer care at
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