Declan Murphy on PSMA Molecules and the Motivation Behind the proPSMA Trial

Declan Murphy discusses the motivation behind the proPSMA study and the emerging history of PSMA PET/CT to challenge conventional imaging at the 2020 SUO Meeting.


So PSMA as a molecule has been of interest for many years really because we know that its overexpressed in aggressive cancer especially castration-resistant prostate cancer. But what we’ve only had in the past 5 or 6 years is imaging agents which are useful to identify this overexpression of PSMA. The real breakthrough came 6 or 7 years ago when some German groups created small molecule ligands that can be used in a PET scanner to identify PSMA in a really quite striking, sensitive and specific manner.

These compounds came out of Germany in 2012/2013 and in Australia we had developed a program already with widespread use of PSMA all around the country really from 2014 onwards. We were beginning to see these striking images and it became very apparent that PSMA PET/CT was an obvious challenger to conventional imaging for staging newly diagnosed prostate cancer and also recurrent prostate cancer and so on. So, in 2017 we set up a prospective randomized trial called the proPSMA trial to compare conventional imaging with PSMA PET/CT for staging newly diagnosed, high-risk or unfavorable intermediate risk prostate cancer.