The Federal Government has announced Medicare funding of a new whole-body scan for patients with prostate cancer: PSMA PET/CT.

PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen) uses a radioactive molecule to detect prostate cancer cells and reveal the spread of prostate cancer. Peter Mac performed the first PSMA PET scan in Melbourne, in 2014.

“This is truly practise changing for the management of men with prostate cancer in Australia,” says Professor Michael Hofman, Director of the Prostate Cancer Theranostics and Imaging Centre of Excellence (ProsTIC) at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

“This funding provides important equitable access for patients with the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.”

Until now, the out of pocket expenses for patients accessing these scans has been almost a thousand dollars.

The primary data in the funding application for this MBS addition came from Peter Mac’s ProPSMA study, published in The Lancet in 2020.

Professor Michael Hofman and Professor Declan Murphy

The award-winning randomised trial conducted compared PSMA PET/CT scans against standard CT and bone scan imaging. It ran across 10 sites, involving 300 patients. 

The ProPSMA study found that PSMA PET/CT scans provide better accuracy, more definitive results, lower radiation exposure, and enables more effective management of disease.

It also included a health economics assessment, demonstrating that PSMA PET/CT is more cost effective than standard imaging.

Professor Declan Murphy, ProPSMA senior author and Director of Genito-urinary (GU) Oncology at Peter Mac says “PSMA PET/CT is a game changer, detecting disease that previous medical scanning technology failed to detect. Better detection of cancer spread is critical to direct curative treatments whilst also avoiding additional treatments that may be harmful. This is a great day for men with prostate cancer in Australia.”

Peter Mac opened ProsTIC (the Prostate Cancer and Imaging Centre of Excellence) in 2020. ProsTIC is dedicated to clinical trials, education and leadership, and discovery research in PSMA.

ProsTIC shared its expertise with the world last week, at first ProsTIC Preceptorship, hosting over 300 attendees from 29 nations.

There are currently ten active PSMA clinical trials at Peter Mac. Five new trials are opening through 2022.

**ProPSMA was funded by a clinical trials grant from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Movember. It was supported by two co-operative groups, the Australasian Radiopharmaceutical Trials Network (ArtNET) and the ANZUP Cancer Trials Group.