Tumoral Ki67 and PSMA Expression in Fresh Pre-PSMA-RLT Biopsies and Its Relation With PSMA-PET Imaging and Outcomes of PSMA-RLT in Patients With mCRPC.

B. Laarhuis, M. Janssen, M. Simons, L. van Kalmthout, M. van der Doelen, S. Peters, H. Westdorp, I. van Oort, G. Litjens, M. Gotthardt, J. Nagarajah, N. Mehra and B. Privé

Clinical Genitourinary Cancer 2023.


Prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) directed radioligand therapy (RLT) is a novel therapy for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients. However, it is still poorly understood why approximately 40% of the patients does not respond to PSMA-RLT. The aims of this study were to evaluate the pretreatment PSMA expression on immunohistochemistry (IHC) and PSMA uptake on PET/CT imaging in mCRPC patients who underwent PSMA-RLT. We correlated these parameters and a cell proliferation marker (Ki67) to the therapeutic efficacy of PSMA-RLT. In this retrospective study, mCRPC patients who underwent PSMA-RLT were analyzed. Patients biopsies were scored for immunohistochemical Ki67 expression, PSMA staining intensity and percentage of cells with PSMA expression. Moreover, the PSMA tracer uptake of the tumor lesion(s) and healthy organs on PET/CT imaging was assessed. The primary outcome was to evaluate the association between histological PSMA protein expression of tumor in pre-PSMA-RLT biopsies and the PSMA uptake on PSMA PET/CT imaging of the biopsied lesion. Secondary outcomes were to assess the relationship between PSMA expression and Ki67 on IHC and the progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) following PSMA-RLT. In total, 22 mCRPC patients were included in this study. Nineteen (86%) patients showed a high and homogenous PSMA expression of >80% on IHC. Three (14%) patients had low PSMA expression on IHC. Although there was limited PSMA uptake on PET/CT imaging, these 3 patients had lower PSMA uptake on PET/CT imaging compared to the patients with high PSMA expression on IHC. Yet, no correlation was found between PSMA uptake on PET/CT imaging and PSMA expression on IHC (SUVmax: R  = 0.046 and SUVavg: R  = 0.036). The 3 patients had a shorter PFS compared to the patients with high PSMA expression on IHC (HR: 4.76, 95% CI: 1.14-19.99; P = .033). Patients with low Ki67 expression had a longer PFS and OS compared to patients with a high Ki67 expression (HR: 0.40, 95% CI: 0.15-1.06; P = .013) CONCLUSION: The PSMA uptake on PSMA-PET/CT generally followed the PSMA expression on IHC. However, heterogeneity may be missed on PSMA-PET/CT. Immunohistochemical PSMA and Ki67 expression in fresh tumor biopsies, may contribute to predict treatment efficacy of PSMA-RLT in mCRPC patients. This needs to be further explored in prospective cohorts.