Dramatic polarization in genitourinary expert opinions regarding the clinical utility of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in prostate cancer

ABSTRACT Objectives: To ascertain the opinions of North American genitourinary (GU) experts regarding inclusion of technologies such as prostate - specific membrane antigen (PSMA) and C – 11 choline positron emission tomography (PET) into routine practice. Materials and Methods: A survey was distributed to North American GU experts. Questions pertained to the role of PSMA and C – 11 PET in PCa management. Participants were categorized as “supporters” or “opponents” of incorporation of novel imaging techniques. Opinions were correlated with practice patterns. Results: Response rate was 54% and we analyzed 42 radiation oncologist respondents. 17 participants (40%) have been in practice for > 20 years and 38 (90%) practice at an academic center. 24 (57%) were supporters of PSMA and 29 (69%) were supporters of C – 11. Supporters were more likely to treat pelvic nodes (88% vs. 56%, p < 01) and trended to be more likely to treat patients with moderate or extreme hypofractionation (58% vs. 28%, p = 065). Supporters trended to be more likely to offer brachytherapy boost (55% vs. 23%, p = 09), favor initial observation and early salvage over adjuvant radiation (77% vs. 55%, p = 09), and to consider themselves expert brachytherapists (69% vs. 39%, p = 09). Conclusions: There is a polarization among GU radiation oncology experts regarding novel imaging techniques. A correlation emerged between support of novel imaging and adoption of treatment approaches that are clinically superior or less expensive. Pre - existing biases among GU experts on national treatment - decision panels and leaders of cooperative group studies may affect the design of future studies and influence the adoption of these technologies in clinical practice.