PET scans use an injection of low-level radioactive material to highlight specific types of tissue in medical images. Different types of radiation may be chosen for different tissue. The radioactive material options for prostate cancer tissue include: Indium-111 capromab pendetide Choline C-11 or F-18
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The radioactive material above attaches itself to prostate cancer tissue, but passes other tissue in the body. The radioactive material makes prostate cancer tissue visible with a PET scan. Indium-111 capromab pendetide helps find cancer that has spread beyond the prostate, such as the lymph tissue or bones. Choline C-11 or F-18 is used for those who have had prostate cancer treatment, but may be at a high risk for recurrence.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like: Changes in the levels of bilirubin (a waste product) in the bloodElevated liver enzymesChanges in blood pressureAllergic reaction to radioactive material
Before your test: The doctor may recommend a laxative or enema the night before to clean out the bowel. A catheter may be used to empty the bladder just before surgery.
Indium-111 capromab pendetide:
The indium-111 capromab pendetide scan is done in 2 parts. The radioactive material will be slowly injected through an IV and images are taken. The patient can then return home with no restrictions. After 4-5 days, the patient returns for the PET scan.
A radioactive form of choline (a B-complex vitamin) is injected into a vein. Prostate cancer cells quickly absorb the choline. The scan is done right away to get the full effect of the radioactivity, which breaks down quickly. The radioactive forms of choline are C-11 or F-18.
You will be able to leave after the test is done. You can resume normal activities.
Indium-111 capromab pendetide—1-2 hours
Choline C-11 or F-18—less than 30 minutes
Your doctor will review the images. The results will be ready in a few days.
Call if you have any questions or concerns. If you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
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Updated September 12, 2014. Accessed September 25, 2015.
Kohlfürst S, Malle P, Igerc I, Gallowitsch HJ, Lind P. The role of F-18 choline PET and PET/CT in prostate cancer.Imaging Decisions MRI. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1617-0830.2010.01141.x/full. Accessed September 25, 2015.
Manyak M. Indium-111 capromab pendetide in the management of recurrent prostate cancer.
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Murphy RC, Kawashima A, Peller PJ. The utility of 11C-choline PET/CT for imaging prostate cancer: a pictorial guide. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011;196(6):1390-1398.
ProstaScint scan. University of Virginia Health System website. Available at:
Accessed September 25, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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