Gamma probe-assisted lymph node removal
Prostate cancer metastases in neighbouring lymph nodes are often so small that they cannot be reliably identified using conventional imaging methods such as MRI or CT scans. New methods enable surgeons to identify even small metastases and lymph nodes containing cancer cells more effectively than ever before – and then treat them successfully. This treatment uses a contrast agent that is otherwise harmless to humans and accumulates in tumour tissue, thereby providing radioactive labelling of metastases.
A contrast agent makes the tumour cells visible
PSMA-PET imaging makes use of Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA), a protein that can be found frequently on the surfaces of prostate cancer cells. The contrast agent is a radioligand that binds to the PSMA and acts as a radioactive label on prostate cancer cells. Positron emission tomography (PET) visualises metastases that are emitting radiation. This enables the surgeon to determine the precise location and size of the malignant tissue and optimise their surgical plans accordingly.