DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3797-yPages: 1-10

Prospective head-to-head comparison of 11C-choline-PET/MR and 11C-choline-PET/CT for restaging of biochemical recurrent prostate cancer

1. Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technische Universität München

2. David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology

3. Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of Urology, Technische Universität München

4. Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of Radiology, Technische Universität München

5. Ulm University, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
Isabel Rauscher




Whole-body integrated 11C-choline PET/MR might provide advantages compared to 11C-choline PET/CT for restaging of prostate cancer (PC) due to the high soft-tissue contrast and the use of multiparametric MRI, especially for detection of local recurrence and bone metastases.

Materials and methods

Ninety-four patients with recurrent PC underwent a single-injection/dual-imaging protocol with contrast-enhanced PET/CT followed by fully diagnostic PET/MR. Imaging datasets were read separately by two reader teams (team 1 and 2) assessing the presence of local recurrence, lymph node and bone metastases in predefined regions using a five-point scale. Detection rates were calculated. The diagnostic performance of PET/CT vs. PET/MR was compared using ROC analysis. Inter-observer and inter-modality variability, radiation exposure, and mean imaging time were evaluated. Clinical follow-up, imaging, and/or histopathology served as standard of reference (SOR).


Seventy-five patients qualified for the final image analysis. A total of 188 regions were regarded as positive: local recurrence in 37 patients, 87 regions with lymph node metastases, and 64 regions with bone metastases. Mean detection rate between both readers teams for PET/MR was 84.7% compared to 77.3% for PET/CT (p > 0.05). Local recurrence was identified significantly more often in PET/MR compared to PET/CT by team 1. Lymph node and bone metastases were identified significantly more often in PET/CT compared to PET/MR by both teams. However, this difference was not present in the subgroup of patients with PSA values ≤2 ng/ml.

Inter-modality and inter-observer agreement (K > 0.6) was moderate to substantial for nearly all categories. Mean reduction of radiation exposure for PET/MR compared to PET/CT was 79.7% (range, 72.6–86.2%). Mean imaging time for PET/CT was substantially lower (18.4 ± 0.7 min) compared to PET/MR (50.4 ± 7.9 min).


11C-choline PET/MR is a robust imaging modality for restaging biochemical recurrent PC and interpretations between different readers are consistent. It provides a higher diagnostic value for detecting local recurrence compared to PET/CT with the advantage of substantial dose reduction. Drawbacks of PET/MR are a substantially longer imaging time and a slight inferiority in detecting bone and lymph node metastases in patients with PSA values >2 ng/ml. Thus, we suggest the use of 11C-choline PET/MR especially for patients with low (≤2 ng/ml) PSA values, whereas PET/CT is preferable in the subgroup with higher PSA values.

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  • Accepted: Jul 27, 2017
  • Online: Aug 12, 2017

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