The diagnostic accuracy of radiolabeled PSMA-ligand PET for tumour staging in newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients compared to histopathology: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Farid Gossili*, Anna Winther Mogensen, Tea Caroline Konnerup, Kirsten Bouchelouche, Ian Alberts, Ali Afshar-Oromieh, Helle D. Zacho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE: The current clinical recommendations posit the deployment of specific approved radiolabeled prostate-specific membrane antigen-ligand positron emission tomography (PSMA PET) for detecting metastatic prostate cancer during primary staging. Nevertheless, the precise efficacy of such ligands in localizing intraprostatic tumours (index tumour) and T-staging is not well established. Consequently, the objective of this inquiry is to ascertain the diagnostic accuracy of PSMA-PET in the tumour staging of newly diagnosed prostate cancer by means of a meta-analysis that integrates studies utilizing histological confirmation as the reference standard.

METHODS: In this study, we conducted a systematic literature search of the PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases using a predefined collection of search terms. These terms included 'PSMA PET', 'primary staging', and 'prostate cancer'. Subsequently, two independent reviewers evaluated all the studies based on predetermined inclusion criteria, extracted pertinent data, and assessed the quality of evidence. Any disparities were resolved by a third reviewer. A random effects Sidik-Jonkman model was applied to conduct a meta-analysis and estimate the diagnostic accuracy on a per-patient basis, along with 95% confidence intervals. Moreover, an appraisal regarding the likelihood of publication bias and the impact of small-study effects was performed utilizing both Egger's test and a graphical examination of the funnel plot.

RESULTS: The present analysis comprised a total of twenty-three scientific papers encompassing 969 patients and involved their analysis by both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The results of this study demonstrated that the estimated diagnostic accuracy of PSMA PET/CT and PSMA PET/MRI, for the detection of intraprostatic tumours, regardless of the type of PSMA-ligand, was 86% (95% CI: 76-96%) and 97% (95% CI: 94-100%), respectively. Furthermore, the diagnostic accuracy for the detection of extraprostatic extension (EPE) was 73% (95% CI: 64-82%) and 77% (95% CI: 69-85%), while the diagnostic accuracy for the detection of seminal vesicle involvement (SVI) was 87% (95% CI: 80-93) and 90% (95% CI: 82-99%), respectively.

CONCLUSION: The present investigation has demonstrated that PSMA PET/MRI surpasses currently recommended multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) in terms of diagnostic accuracy as inferred from a notable data trajectory, whereas PSMA-PET/CT exhibited comparable diagnostic accuracy for intraprostatic tumour detection and T-staging compared to mpMRI. Nevertheless, the analysis has identified certain potential limitations, such as small-study effects and a potential for publication bias, which may impact the overall conclusions drawn from this study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)281–294
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Meta-analysis
  • PET/CT
  • PSMA
  • Primary staging
  • Prostate cancer


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