The Impact of Positron Emission Tomography Imaging and Tumor Molecular Profiling on Risk Stratification, Treatment Choice, and Oncological Outcomes of Patients with Primary or Relapsed Prostate Cancer: An International Collaborative Review of the Existing Literature

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Eur Urol Oncol


CONTEXT: The clinical introduction of next-generation imaging methods and molecular biomarkers ("radiogenomics") has revolutionized the field of prostate cancer (PCa). While the clinical validity of these tests has thoroughly been vetted, their clinical utility remains a matter of investigation.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the evidence to date on the impact of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and tissue-based prognostic biomarkers, including Decipher, Prolaris, and Oncotype Dx, on the risk stratification, treatment choice, and oncological outcomes of men with newly diagnosed PCa or those with biochemical failure (BCF).

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We performed a quantitative systematic review of the literature using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases (2010-2022) following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses statement guidelines. The validated Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 scoring system was used to assess the risk of bias.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: A total of 148 studies (130 on PET and 18 on biomarkers) were included. In the primary PCa setting, prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET imaging was not useful in improving T staging, moderately useful in improving N staging, but consistently useful in improving M staging in patients with National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) unfavorable intermediate- to very-high-risk PCa. Its use led to a management change in 20-30% of patients. However, the effect of these treatment changes on survival outcomes was not clear. Similarly, biomarkers in the pretherapy primary PCa setting increased and decreased the risk, respectively, in 7-30% and 32-36% of NCCN low-risk and 31-65% and 4-15% of NCCN favorable intermediate-risk patients being considered for active surveillance. A change in management was noted in up to 65% of patients, with the change being in line with the molecular risk-based reclassification, but again, the impact of these changes on survival outcomes remained unclear. Notably, in the postsurgical primary PCa setting, biomarker-guided adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) was associated with improved oncological control: Δ↓ 2-yr BCF by 22% (level 2b). In the BCF setting, the data were more mature. PSMA PET was consistently useful in improving disease localization-Δ↑ detection for T, N, and M staging was 13-32%, 19-58%, and 9-29%, respectively. Between 29% and 73% of patients had a change in management. Most importantly, these management changes were associated with improved survival outcomes in three trials: Δ↑ 4-yr disease-free survival by 24.3%, Δ↑ 6-mo metastasis-free survival (MFS) by 46.7%, and Δ↑ androgen deprivation therapy-free survival by 8 mo in patients who received PET-concordant RT (level 1b-2b). Biomarker testing in these patients also appeared to be helpful in risk stratifying and guiding the use of early salvage RT (sRT) and concomitant hormonal therapy. Patients with high-genomic-risk scores benefitted from treatment intensification: Δ↑ 8-yr MFS by 20% with the use of early sRT and Δ↑ 12-yr MFS by 11.2% with the use of hormonal therapy alongside early sRT, while low-genomic-risk score patients did equally well with initial conservative management (level 3).

CONCLUSIONS: Both PSMA PET imaging and tumor molecular profiling provide actionable information in the management of men with primary PCa and those with BCF. Emerging data suggest that radiogenomics-guided treatments translate into direct survival benefits for patients, however, additional prospective data are awaited.

PATIENT SUMMARY: In this review, we evaluated the utility of prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography and tumor molecular profiling in guiding the care of men with prostate cancer (PCa). We found that these tests augmented risk stratification, altered management, and improved cancer control in men with a new diagnosis of PCa or for those experiencing a relapse.

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ePub ahead of print