New radiopharmaceutical agents for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer

L. Maffioli, L. Florimonte, D. C. Costa, J. Correia Castanheira, C. Grana, M. Luster, L. Bodei, M. Chinol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the fourth most common cancer worldwide in terms of incidence and third among male, but is becoming the most common cancer in developed countries. In many patients the disease will progress despite of castration levels of testosterone, to become castration-resistant PCa (CRPC). Nearly all patients with CRPC show bone metastases. The treatment of patients with bony metastases has dramatically changed during the past three years because of new therapeutic approaches addressed to obtain pain control, reduced skeletal morbidity, and most importantly, increased survival rate. A possible therapy can be based also on the use of radiopharmaceuticals systemically administered to slow or reverse the bone metastatic progression. In facts bone-homing radiopharmaceuticals are taken up in areas of high bone turnover, including areas with high osteoblastic activity. Recently, a bone targeting radiopharmaceutical, Radium-223 dichloride was added to this group of drugs clearly representing a new generation of radiopharmaceutical in bone therapy. Clinical trials had shown that the treatment with Ra-223 allowed the reduction of the risk of death respect to placebo. No other radiometabolic treatment achieved such result, evidentiating the disease-modifying properties of this bone-homing radiopharmaceutical. In an effort to treat patients with disseminated PCa, who became resistant to hormonal therapy, molecular targets have been recently identified. Prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is one attractive target for diagnosis and therapy of metastasized PCa since its expression levels are directly correlated to androgen independence, metastasis, and progression. Gastrin-releasing peptide receptors (GRPr) are also highly overexpressed in PCa. Numerous studies suggest the possibility of a high PCa-specific signal with radiolabeled bombesin analogs targeting GRPr. Low molecular weight peptides directed against these molecular targets have been radiolabeled with positron emitting radionuclides such as 68Ga in order to improve sensitivity and specificity for detecting primary, metastatic, and recurrent PCa by PET/CT over conventional imaging techniques. Although peptide radionuclide ligand therapy studies have just initiated, the diagnostic relevance of 68Ga labeled specific tracers has already been established its clinical utility and represents a valid tool against this common and deadly cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-438
Number of pages19
JournalQuarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Anticarcinogenic agents
  • Prostate-specific antigen
  • Prostatic neoplasms
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Radium Ra 223 dichloride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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