Theranostics 2021; 11(17):8143-8151. doi:10.7150/thno.60222

Research Paper

Total tumor volume reduction and low PSMA expression in patients receiving Lu-PSMA therapy

Robert Seifert1,2,3,4, Katharina Kessel2, Katrin Schlack4,5, Matthias Weckesser2,4, David Kersting1,3,4, Konstantin E. Seitzer4,5, Manuel Weber1,3,4, Martin Bögemann4,5, Kambiz Rahbar2,4✉

1. Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany
2. Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany
3. German Cancer Consortium (DKTK)
4. West German Cancer Center
5. Department of Urology, University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany

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Citation:
Seifert R, Kessel K, Schlack K, Weckesser M, Kersting D, Seitzer KE, Weber M, Bögemann M, Rahbar K. Total tumor volume reduction and low PSMA expression in patients receiving Lu-PSMA therapy. Theranostics 2021; 11(17):8143-8151. doi:10.7150/thno.60222. Available from https://www.thno.org/v11p8143.htm

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Abstract

Background: [177Lu]-PSMA-617 (Lu-PSMA) therapy is a promising therapeutic option for end-stage prostate cancer patients. Early treatment response at the first restaging after two therapy cycles might correlate with high treatment efficacy and long overall survival (OS). Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate whether early reduction in tumor volume is a positive prognosticator for OS. To this end, PSMA PET prior to therapy (baseline) and at first restaging after two therapy cycles (interim; i.e., 12 weeks) were compared.

Methods: Patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who received Lu-PSMA therapy were reviewed for this analysis. All patients with available baseline and interim [68Ga]-PSMA-11 PET/CT were included in this analysis (n = 33). All PSMA avid metastases in baseline and interim PETs were semi-automatically segmented. The average PSMA expression (mean SUVmax of all metastases), total tumor volume (PSMA-TV) and TLQ (quotients of tumor volume and SUVmean summed over all metastases) were quantified at baseline and interim timepoints. Response in PSMA-TV was assumed when a decline > 30% was present. OS and biochemical response were available for all patients.

Results: Baseline PSMA-TV was a statistically significant prognosticator of OS (HR = 1.618 95%CI: 1.117 - 2.343, p = 0.011). Reduction in PSMA-TV was not a statistically significant positive prognosticator of OS in the total cohort (HR = 0.829 95%CI: 0.559 - 1.230, p = 0.352). Likewise, there was no statistical difference in survival time comparing patients with PSMA-TV response to those without (13.2 vs. 15.6 months, p = 0.1). In the subgroup of patients with PSMA-TV response, mean SUVmax was a statistically significant prognosticator of OS (binarized by median; HR = 0.15; 95%CI: 0.03 - 0.83; p < 0.05). If patients with low PSMA expression at baseline were excluded from the analysis, reduction in PSMA-TV became a positive prognosticator of OS in uni- and multivariable Cox regression (HR = 0.290; 95%CI: 0.108 - 0.782; p = 0.015).

Conclusion: PSMA-TV reduction was a positive prognosticator of OS only if patients with low PSMA expression were excluded. This might indicate that the PSMA-PETs of patients with low PSMA expression may not be suited for assessing PSMA-TV reduction. Future studies investigating the interplay of PSMA-TV and low PSMA expression response are warranted.

Keywords: 177Lu-PSMA-617, mCRPC, radioligand therapy