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Clin Nucl Med. 1999 Aug;24(8):579-82.

The value of a baseline bone scan in patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer.

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Division of Nuclear Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.



This study evaluated the role of bone scans in managing newly diagnosed, untreated prostate cancer.


Two hundred seventy consecutive staging bone scans in patients (mean age, 69 years) with newly diagnosed prostate cancer who had serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) determinations and biopsies between January 1995 and October 1997 were evaluated retrospectively.


The bone scans were positive for metastatic bone disease in 24 patients and negative in 246. Serum PSA levels, the number of positive biopsy cores, the extent of tumor in the prostate gland, and Gleason scores were all significantly correlated with scintigraphic bone metastases (P < 0.0001 for each). Of the 177 patients with PSA levels less than 10 ng/ml, three had bone metastases. Bone metastases were found in 2 of 34 patients with PSA levels of 10.1 to 20 ng/ml, in 3 of 29 patients with PSA values of 20.1 to 50 ng/ml, and in 16 of 30 patients with PSA levels greater than 50.1 ng/ml. Only one patient had a bone metastasis when the prostate cancer involved fewer than 2 biopsy cores (1 of 135) or when disease was confined to one lobe (1 of 131), but the incidence increased significantly when the malignancy involved three or more biopsy cores (20 of 114) or disease was present in both prostate lobes (20 of 118). Four of 160 patients with Gleason scores less than 6 had bone metastases, whereas 20 of 110 patients with Gleason scores greater than 7 had bone metastases.


The likelihood of bone metastases is low in patients with newly diagnosed, untreated prostate cancer when the initial PSA level was less than 10 ng/ml, the number of positive biopsy cores was less than 2, tumor was confined to one lobe, or the Gleason score was less than 6. However, none of these criteria can be used to exclude metastatic bone disease. A baseline bone scan is an important staging procedure and should be obtained to provide maximum data for clinical management of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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