Fluorine-18 Piflufolastat: An Innovative Approach to Prostate Cancer Imaging

Fluorine-18 piflufolastat, also known as 18F-DCFPyL, is a novel radiopharmaceutical agent that has gained increasing attention in recent years for its potential in the imaging and management of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, with an estimated 1.4 million new cases diagnosed annually. Therefore, early detection and accurate staging are crucial for determining the most appropriate treatment and improving patient outcomes. Fluorine-18 piflufolastat has demonstrated promise in this regard, as it provides a noninvasive means of detecting and localising prostate cancer cells with high sensitivity and specificity.

Fluorine-18 piflufolastat is a small molecule radiotracer that selectively binds to the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). PSMA are a transmembrane protein overexpressed in prostate cancer cells, making it an ideal target for molecular imaging. The radiotracer consists of a urea-based PSMA inhibitor coupled with a fluorine-18 radioisotope emitting positrons. When used with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, the radiotracer provides detailed information about the presence and location of PSMA-expressing prostate cancer cells.

One of the primary advantages of fluorine-18 piflufolastat is its high sensitivity and specificity for detecting prostate cancer. Studies have shown that it can accurately identify primary tumours and metastatic lesions in lymph nodes, bones, and other organs. This is particularly valuable in cases of biochemical recurrence, where prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels rise after initial treatment, suggesting the presence of residual or recurrent disease. Fluorine-18 piflufolastat PET imaging can help pinpoint the location of recurrent tumours, enabling more targeted therapies and potentially improving patient outcomes.

Fluorine-18 Piflufolastat PET Imaging: Advantages over Conventional CT and MRI in Lesion Detection and Diagnostic Accuracy

Compared to conventional imaging modalities, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fluorine-18 piflufolastat PET imaging has several advantages. For example, it offers higher spatial resolution, allowing for the detection of smaller lesions, and it can be more easily quantified, which may help assess treatment response. Additionally, unlike choline-based PET tracers, fluorine-18 piflufolastat demonstrates minimal uptake in the urinary system, reducing the risk of false-positive results and improving overall diagnostic accuracy.

While fluorine-18 piflufolastat has shown promise in prostate cancer imaging, some limitations still exist. For example, PSMA expression is not exclusive to prostate cancer cells; it can also be found in specific non-prostatic tissues and other malignancies. Consequently, the tracer may produce false-positive results in some cases. Additionally, not all prostate cancers overexpress PSMA, which can result in false-negative findings.


Fluorine-18 piflufolastat is a promising radiopharmaceutical agent with the potential to improve prostate cancer detection and management significantly. Explicitly targeting PSMA-expressing cells offers high sensitivity and specificity, providing valuable information for clinicians in determining the most appropriate treatment strategies. As research continues and clinical experience with this novel radiotracer grows, fluorine-18 piflufolastat is expected to play an increasingly important role in the fight against prostate cancer.

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