Prostate-specific membrane antigen and renal cell carcinoma: a new diagnostic and therapeutic target?

Federica Matteucci, Giovanni Paganelli


The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a membrane glycoprotein (type II-carboxypeptidase) encoded by the FOLH1 gene, which is hyper-expressed in prostate cancer (PCa). 68Ga-PSMA PET/CT is a new diagnostic tool for the localization of PCa foci in patients with biochemical recurrence. Its use in pre-surgical staging as well as in early treatment evaluation is also under investigation (1). Moreover, the possibility of labeling PSMA antagonists with radionuclides emitting α and/or β-particles is becoming an interesting therapeutic application for the same molecule (2). However, PSMA, despite its name, is not really specific for PCa as it is also expressed by endothelial cells in the neovascular tissue of many solid tumors including kidney cancer. It has also been reported that the expression of PSMA in normal renal parenchyma can be detected within the brush borders and apical cytoplasm in a subset of proximal tubules (3,4).