U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Gallium 68 PSMA-11 (Ga 68 PSMA-11) – the first drug for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) positive lesions in men with prostate cancer.
Ga 68 PSMA-11 is indicated for patients with suspected prostate cancer metastasis (when cancer cells spread from the place where they first formed to another part of the body) who are potentially curable by surgery or radiation therapy. Ga 68 PSMA-11 is also indicated for patients with suspected prostate cancer recurrence based on elevated serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Ga 68 PSMA-11 is a radioactive diagnostic agent that is administered in the form of an intravenous injection.
“Ga 68 PSMA-11 is an important tool that can aid health care providers in assessing prostate cancer,” said Alex Gorovets, M.D., acting deputy director of the Office of Specialty Medicine in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “With this first approval of a PSMA-targeted PET imaging drug for men with prostate cancer, providers now have a new imaging approach to detect whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.”
Prostate cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that there will be more than 190,000 new cases of prostate cancer and an estimated 33,000 deaths from this disease in 2020, according to the National Cancer Institute. While computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and bone scans are conventional methods commonly used to image patients with prostate cancer, these approaches are limited in detection of prostate cancer lesions. F 18 fluciclovine and C 11 choline are two other PET drugs that are approved for prostate cancer imaging. However, they are only approved for use in patients with suspected cancer recurrence.
Once administered via injection, Ga 68 PSMA-11 binds to PSMA, which is an important pharmacologic target for prostate cancer imaging because prostate cancer cells usually contain elevated levels of the antigen. As a radioactive drug that emits positrons, Ga 68 PSMA-11 can be imaged by PET to indicate the presence of PSMA-positive prostate cancer lesions in the tissues of the body.
The FDA granted approval to the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Francisco.