Copper-64 PET/CT scanning for biochemically relapsing prostate cancer

A group of Italian researchers have apparently shown that a copper-64 dichloride-based radiotracing agent (64CuCl2) is better than currently-used 18FCl radiotracers in the detection of biochemically recurrent prostate cancer with PET/CT scans However, whether it is better than some of the newer gallium-68 PSMA-based agents that are already being widely used in Europe in conjunction with PET/CT scanning is yet to be evaluated.

For those who are interested in reading the details, please see the original abstract of the paper by Piccardo et al. in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine — or perhaps an easier read is the commentary on the ScienceDirect web site.

Clearly more research will be necessary before such a new imaging test would become available in clinical practice, and the best way to look at a study like this from a patient perspective is to realize that this is one more example of the increasing sophistication of the numerous new ways that we are able to image the prostate and the sites of cancer within the prostate. At least in theory, improvements in the accuracy of detection should, in due course, improve our ability to treat the cancer with greater accuracy and fewer complications and side effects.

3 Responses

  1. Some of us may recall Duke’s Give1forDad campaign to fund Dr. Dan George’s research into disulfiram and copper. This was championed by me dear buddy Dominic Marrese, GRHS, who passed 2 years ago.

    The campaign raised enough money to allow the trial to proceed — although no results have been published to date. The trial concept recognizes that “Prostate Cancer needs copper — in fact, it’s a glutton for copper!” Disulfiram (Antabuse), a venerable generic drug, is attracted to copper and highly toxic to prostate cancer. Since there is no money in either copper or disulfiram, the trial has had to be financed privately.

  2. For those who are interested, the disufiram/copper trial that Rick refers to above is described here. It is still enrolling the necessary 36 patients and is not expected to be complete until 2020.

  3. Rick raises a good point that Cu-64 is theranostic (both diagnostic and therapeutic). Aside from emitting positrons that are picked up on a PET scan, it also emits electrons (just as Lu-177 does) that can kill cancer at close range. It has been linked to ligands that attach to PSMA, uPAR receptors, and VPAC receptors in an effort to make it more specific for prostate cancer. There is a clinical trial for the one with the VPAC receptor ligand for men with persistently elevated PSA after surgery at Thomas Jefferson University (NCT02989623).

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