Prostate cancer (PC) is one of the most common diseases in western countries and a leading cause of cancer death. A variety of treatment options are available but a precise disease characterization is needed: evaluation of cancer location, size, and extent and an indication of tumor aggressiveness. The current standard for diagnosing PC is transrectal ultrasound guided sextant biopsy. A novel multidisciplinary approach is required. Imaging may play a key role provided that dedicated prostate imagers and procedures are available: considerable improvements have been achieved in diagnosis with the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and nuclear medicine (Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)) techniques. Nevertheless, due to sub-optimal prostate imaging geometries with these generic large instruments preventing separation of the signal from surrounding organs, the sensitivity, spatial resolution and lesion contrast detected are lower compared to what can be potentially achievable with optimized dedicated prostate imagers and procedures. Fully exploiting the Time Of Flight (TOF) capability would allow not only to increase the Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) / Noise Equivalent Count Rate (NECR) but also to get rid of the huge background coming from neighboring organs i.e. the bladder. Recently a new research project was initiated by a large INFN collaboration, and a "TOF-PET and MRI for prostate cancer diagnosis and follow up experiment" (TOPEM) was financed as a 3-year experiment by the Italian "INFN Commissione Scientifica Nazionale V" with the goal of designing, building and testing in phantom tests an endorectal PET-TOF probe compatible with MRI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics