CONTEXT: Preliminary results have demonstrated that prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is highly expressed on the cell surface of the microvasculature of several solid tumors, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
OBJECTIVE: To assess the role of PSMA positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) in RCC patients and to discuss its possible inclusion in the clinical management of these patients.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic literature search was performed for studies on PET/CT in patients with RCC up to April 2018. MEDLINE databases, such as Pubmed, Web of Science, and Scopus were consulted using the following keywords: "Renal Cell Carcinoma" AND "PET/CT", "Renal Cancer" AND "PET/CT", "renal cancer" AND "PSMA PET/CT", and "renal cell carcinoma" AND "PSMA PET/CT".
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Thirteen articles were retrieved from the available literature; the majority of them were relative to metastatic RCC (n=11/13, 85%) and eight of them were clinical cases, thus providing low-quality data. No diagnostic benefit of PSMA PET/CT was found in the evaluation of primary tumors. PSMA PET/CT may be a useful imaging modality in whole-body staging and restaging of patients with RCC and in the assessment of lesions that remained unclear on conventional imaging. Furthermore, PSMA PET/CT may predict the response to anti-angiogenic-targeted therapies.
CONCLUSIONS: The utility of PSMA-based PET imaging in the assessment of patients with RCC is encouraging. However, the available preliminary results will need to be addressed with larger prospective trials.
PATIENT SUMMARY: In this mini-review, we evaluated the usefulness of an alternative imaging technique for patients with renal cell cancer. We found that this new imaging modality may indeed be useful. We conclude that the preliminary data should be assessed by larger studies.