Choline supply issues affect PET/CT studies in U.K.

Problems related to the supply of choline have led to delays and postponements for radiolabeled choline PET/CT scans in men suspected of having prostate cancer recurrence, according to a report published on 7 April in the Guardian.

Some men are facing lengthy delays in confirming their prognosis, as scans are repeatedly canceled at short notice due to the shortage, noted Karen Stalbow, head of policy, knowledge, and impact at advocacy group Prostate Cancer UK.

NHS England told the Guardian that the supply problems have been resolved, however. A spokesperson for University College London Hospitals also said it's well known that choline is a fragile tracer and that its production can be relatively unreliable, resulting in short-term cancellations.

"We have been working constructively with NHS England to address the choline production issues and they recently agreed to fund [prostate-specific membrane antigen] scans for a limited period," she told the Guardian.

Dr. Wai Lup Wong, chair of the NHS England cancer diagnostics clinical reference group, told the Guardian that while there isn't currently a choline shortage, "some patient scans were delayed last year when a supplier experienced difficulties whilst refurbishing one of its production sites."

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