2 November 2020

Movember-funded prostate cancer study

Prostate cancer study could transform management of patients with aggressive cancer
Prostate Cancer | Where The Money Goes

 A new type of scan that helps doctors understand whether a man’s prostate cancer has spread should be routinely used in those with high-risk disease, according to a Movember-funded study.
Results of the proPSMA study, published in The Lancet medical journal earlier this year, showed that PSMA-PET/CT scans were more accurate than current standard scanning techniques (CT and bone scans) in detecting disease that has spread outside of the prostate. This new scan will change the way a man’s prostate cancer is detected and managed.

During a PSMA-PET/CT scan, the radioactive molecule injected into a vein finds its way to prostate cancer cells and binds with them. This allows doctors to see cancerous cells as small as 2-3mm using a PET scanner that takes images of the whole body.

Professor Declan Murphy, the study’s senior author and Director of Genitourinary Cancer at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, said: “The proPSMA study will change practice with immediate effect. Having much more accurate information about a patient’s cancer, will enable prostate cancer specialists to recommend much more effective strategies to treat individual patients.”

After proving the new scanning technique to be highly accurate, the research team looked at whether this superior accuracy in detecting prostate cancer outweighs the costs of administering it, including the cost to make the radioactive molecule and the time taken to have the PET scans done. This type of cost-effectiveness analysis is closely looked at by healthcare authorities when determining whether or not the new scan should be reimbursed. 
The results of the analysis, presented at the annual European Association of Nuclear Medicine, showed that, in Australia, each PSMA-PET/CT scan was about AUD $210 cheaper than current scanning techniques. Further modelling on long term benefits and costs showed that the use of PSMA-PET/CT scans to detect disease in the first instance and thereby guide treatment also represents good value for money compared to current scanning techniques.
Associate Professor Richard De Abreu Lourenco, a health economist at the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation, said: “Based on the superior accuracy of the PSMA-PET/CT scan shown in the proPSMA study together with this value for money analysis compared to current scanning technologies, we believe there is strong evidence to support the widespread adoption and funding of this new technology in Australia and around the world.”
The proPSMA study was funded by Movember via a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. The trial was supported and co-badged by the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP).

Dr Sarah Hsiao, Director of Biomedical Research and Impact at Movember said: “This is a really exciting development. The results of this trial have shown that PSMA-PET/CT scans are not only more accurate than currently used imaging techniques, but are also cost-effective in the Australian healthcare setting.

“While similar health economic studies will need to be conducted in other countries to demonstrate the value for money, there is now solid evidence that PSMA-PET/CT scans are the gold standard first-line imaging test for staging high-risk prostate cancer. We would like to see PSMA-PET/CT scans adopted into clinical practice as soon as possible for this group of men.”