An interview with Dr. Edouard Trabulsi from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University on "Optimum Imaging Strategies for Advanced Prostate Cancer: ASCO Guideline." This guideline outlines techniques available and provides recommendations on appropriate use of imaging for specified patient subgroups. Read the full guideline at www.asco.org/genitourinary-cancer-guidelines.
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Hello, and welcome to the ASCO Guidelines Podcast Series, brought to you by the ASCO Podcast Network, a collection of nine programs covering a range of educational and scientific content, and offering enriching insight into the world of cancer care. You can find all of the shows, including this one, at podcast.asco.org.
My name is Shannon McKernin, and today I'm interviewing Dr. Ed Trabulsi from the Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lead author on "Optimum Imaging Strategies for Advanced Prostate Cancer: ASCO Guideline." Thank you for being here today, Dr. Trabulsi.
Thanks, Shannon. Thanks for inviting me.
So first, can you give us a general overview of what this guideline covers?
Sure. So the purpose of this guideline, and it's fairly broad, is to try to come up with some recommendations and strategies for appropriate imaging for patients with advanced prostate cancer. Also, that includes patients that are newly diagnosed that are high or very high risk for having micrometastatic disease.
Also, patients that have been treated and are suffering recurrence of disease as indicated by rising PSA. And then also, patients with metastatic disease, either on initial diagnosis, or on treatment and who are contemplating changing treatments.
Also, it has a wide range of different patient populations that all fit in the category of advanced prostate cancer. And the idea is to try to figure out or make some recommendations on strategies for what imaging is appropriate for each of those groups of men.
So what are the key recommendations for this guideline?
Well, the big impetus for this guideline is the awareness of what we would consider next-generation imaging, meaning that there's a large group of new or novel imaging studies available and on the horizon. And we're trying to figure out the best way to fit them in in the context of traditional imaging in what we would call conventional imaging.
So that would be-- conventional imaging would be imaging tests like CAT scan, radionuclide bone scan, prostate MRI, that sort of thing. Next-generation imaging would include some of the newer PET imaging scans, using different tracers and isotopes, and some of the new SPECT imaging scans, as well as full body MRI.
And so how to interweave those different imaging tests is really what's proving to be not as straightforward as we'd like. And so we realized that we need to really approach this based on a clinical disease state model. So not just one monolithic category of advanced prostate cancer, but looking at specific scenarios.
And we developed this guideline as a scenario-based algorithm. So the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer of men that are at high risk, what images we think about there; for men that have been treated and their PSA is rising, and so forth.
And so we shouldn't jump to next-generation imaging across the board. We really should look very specifically at circumstances where these new, novel, and unfortunately, expensive imaging tests could have real clinical impact.
So patients that are newly diagnosed that are high risk who have suspicious or equivocal conventional imaging, so they have a CAT scan or a bone scan or something that we're really not sure if something that we're seeing there might be an indication of disease, that's a good spot where next-generation imaging might be very helpful.
For patients that have been treated and their PSA is rising, say, after surgery or, say, after radiation, and they get traditional, what we would call conventional imaging, and we don't see a source for the PSA, well, that is another scenario where a patient-- or a category where next-generation imaging should be considered.
In that specific space, there actually are two PET imaging studies that have been approved by FDA in the US with C-11 choline, as well as the fluorine-18 fluciclovine scans.
And then also overseas, or not yet approved in the US, there are other PET-based agents that are being used in that specific space.
Another important aspect of this is that it should have real clinical impact. So if you have a man who unfortunately may be suffering, or evidence of recurrence of disease after surgery or radiation, but because of their comorbidities or age or patient preference, they're not necessarily going to be aggressive with additional therapy, then we probably don't need to chase some of these next-generation imaging studies in that man.
In the confirmed metastatic patient population, that is a little more unclear in terms of what the benefit of next-generation imaging would be outside of the setting of a clinical trial. And in those patients, if it is thought that there would be a change in clinical treatment based on the results of the scan and of next-generation imaging, then that would be a scenario where those might be considered. But we wouldn't necessarily recommend them across the board.
And so why is this guideline so important? And how will it change practice?
Well, it's important and timely because of the tidal wave that we are expecting of novel, next-generation imaging that is going to become closer and closer to clinical practice. Patients are aware of these studies, and they're asking for them, even if they're not currently available or approved by an FDA or covered by a third-party insurance.
There's been a plethora of research studies and new imaging tracers in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. And so trying to get ahead of where they might fit in, and which patients might benefit now and in the future, was really one of the main drivers to come out with a strong position statement on the appropriate use of imaging.
There's a lot of controversy about some of the implications of the next-generation imaging, such as the potential for false positives and the attendant prognostic tests, that that might trigger false negatives, and potentially offering clinicians or patients a more optimistic outlook than may be really present.
And so figuring out specific scenarios and specific patient populations that would benefit from next-generation imaging is the real goal of this guideline.
And so finally, how will these guideline recommendations affect patients?
Well, the ultimate goal is to improve patient care and improve patient outcomes. And so by coming up with some reasonable templates and framework of where some of the next-generation imaging will fit in on a patient's disease spectrum and disease course will help them both to potentially indicate when treatment changes may be necessary, or to isolate areas of disease, and to importantly and accurately give their correct stage. And then that will translate, or we hope and expect, with more information and more accuracy in diagnosis, in better treatment plans and better patient outcomes.
Great. Thank you for your work on this important guideline on Optimum Imaging Strategies for Advanced Prostate Cancer. And thank you so much for your time today, Dr. Trabulsi.
Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
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