No evidence of recurrent prostate cancer or metastatic disease.

I know I should be excited but, at the same time, I don’t think I’ve been so frustrated by “good” news. Thanks to the steady increase in my PSA, we know something is happening somewhere, and I was really hoping this scan would end the game of cat-and-mouse that we’ve been playing trying to determine where the cancer is and what to do next. It didn’t.

Even though I recognized going into the scan that, at my PSA level (0.37 ng/mL), there was an approximate 40% chance of detecting something, I was hopeful it would come up with something this time. Silly me and my expectations.

daniel zeller prostate cancer PSMA PET Scan Results

Courtesy of Daniel Zeller

Detection Rate on a Patient Basis Stratified by PSA and Region Tr indicates prostate bed only; N1, pelvic nodes only; M1, extrapelvic only. Proportion of patients with 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET positive findings were stratified by PSA range and region of disease in accordance with PROMISE.

The other thing I’m beginning to wonder is if I’m in that 10% of patients for whom PSMA PET scans don’t work. (You may recall that being mentioned in this video from the PCRI: Rising PSA After Prostatectomy.) I have to dig into that more to see if it’s just PSMA PET scans that use Gallium-68 as the tracer, or if that applies to any PSMA PET scan regardless of the tracer used. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Choline and Axumin scans are another option, but they don’t start reliably picking up cancer locations until the PSA is at 1.0 ng/mL or higher. Assuming my current PSA doubling time (6.2 months) remains steady, that means waiting another 11 months before I hit 1.0 ng/mL for those scans to have a chance of seeing anything.

I’ll be putting together my list of questions for the urologist appointment on 13 February (I’m open to suggestions). I suspect we’ll have a good discussion on subsequent PSA testing, the value of knowing where the cancer is located at this point, and when to start hormone therapy.

Again, the silver lining in this is that my scan didn’t light up like the Las Vegas strip. I need to keep that in mind.

Happy Friday!

This post originally appeared February 2, 2024, on Dan’s Journey Through Prostate Cancer. It is republished with permission.