Current imaging techniques for and imaging spectrum of prostate cancer recurrence and metastasis: A pictorial review

Takashi Tanaka, Ming Yang, Adam T. Froemming, Alan H. Bryce, Ryota Inai, Susumu Kanazawa, Akira Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Relapsing level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) after initial curative-intent local therapy for organ-confined prostate cancer is often the first sign of recurrence. However, PSA level recurrence does not enable accurate differentiation of locally recurrent tumor from metastatic disease or a combination of both. Metastatic prostate cancer most frequently involves bones and lymph nodes, followed by other organs such as the liver, lung, pleura, adrenal gland, ure-ter, peritoneum, penis, testis, and meninges. Conventional imaging including CT and bone scintigraphy has long been the standard of care but has limited sensitivity in depicting early local recurrence or metastatic disease. Multiparametric MRI has been shown to be more sensitive in detecting locally recurrent tumor in the prostatectomy bed as well as in situ recurrence in a prostate gland that has been treated with radiation therapy or thermal ablation. In addition, lesions detected with multiparametric MRI may be amenable to targeted biopsy for definitive diagnosis of recurrence. PET/ CT or PET/MRI using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved tracers carbon 11 choline or fluorine 18 fluciclovine has demonstrated markedly increased sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of early metastatic disease such as small-volume lymph node metastasis, as have a range of investigational gallium 68 prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) radioactive PET tracers. With recent advances in imaging modalities and techniques, more accurate early detection, localization, and characterization of recurrent prostate cancer have become possible. The authors present a contemporary review of the strengths and limitations of conventional and advanced imaging modalities in evaluation of patients with recurrent prostate cancer and a systematic review of the clinical and imaging features of locally recurrent and metastatic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-726
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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