Phillip J. Koo, MD

Phillip J. Koo, MD

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Phoenix, Arizona

Phillip J. Koo, MD, is the Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to this, he was Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Koo completed his transitional internship at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center-Presbyterian and his radiology residency at Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He completed his fellowship at the Harvard Medical School Joint Program in Nuclear Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Koo is a diplomate of both the American Board of Radiology (ABR) and American Board of Nuclear Medicine(ABNM). His academic interests have focused on PET imaging in prostate cancer, response to novel therapies using PET, and data-driven motion correction. He has lectured nationally and internationally on topics related to imaging and radiopharmaceutical based therapies in prostate cancer. In 2022, Dr. Koo was the recipient of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Presidential Distinguished Service Award.


Dr. Koo has the following disclosures:
Speaker: Bayer
Consultant: Janssen

Talks by Phillip J. Koo, MD

PSMA PET Imaging: A Primer for the Urologist or Oncologist

Phillip J. Koo, MD, presents a primer for urologists and oncologists on prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Dr. Koo asserts that PSMA-PET is rapidly becoming a modern-day practice. He explains that not all hotspots shown on these scans are necessarily prostate cancer; sharing research demonstrating PSMA-PET images, including normal images and other findings, that are not prostate cancer. 

If a practitioner is uncertain, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be performed. Dr. Koo highlights solitary rib lesions, which can present a challenge to clinicians due to a high proportion of false positives on the PSMA-PET scan. He then emphasizes that what is seen on the scan is only half the story, explaining how technicians window, fuse, and send images can affect what a practitioner sees. Dr. Koo recommends that practitioners avoid sole reliance on fused images. Practitioners should reach out to radiologists in order to gain clinical context and the opportunity to educate and learn from those experts. 

He then addresses variability in standard uptake value (SUV) and cites a study on the repeatability of SUV in oncologic 18F-FDG PET, concluding that practitioners should be very careful with SUV numbers and take them in context. Dr. Koo shares a scoring system for various PSMA-PET findings and calls this a clear, standardized way for practitioners to communicate with referring physicians. Finally, Dr. Koo addresses RADAR VI and VII as well as procedure guidelines for PSMA-PET.

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Current Status of PSMA PET in the United States

Philip J. Koo, MD, Division Chief of Diagnostic Imaging and Northwest Region Oncology Physician Executive at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discusses PSMA PET and how it is poised to supplant conventional imaging techniques in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. He begins by observing the shortcomings of conventional imaging techniques such as bone scintigraphy and computed tomography. While these remain the current standard of care, they result in false negative diagnoses in most patients with biochemical recurrence, especially when the lesion is less than 1 cm with a PSA of <20 ng/ML. Dr. Koo then focuses on prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. He cites a study that found PMSA has double the detection rates over fluciclovine, with an exception of lesions in the prostate bed, indicating that different tools may be appropriate depending on lesion location. However, Dr. Koo clarifies that there currently is no data that proves the superiority of a specific PET radiopharmaceutical. Additionally, he cautions that overdiagnosis using next-generation imaging, such as PSMA PET, is likely as physicians continue to learn the benefits and drawbacks. To that end, he notes that there is a spectrum of visible lesions when using PET and a threshold below which it cannot detect disease. Dr. Koo concludes that while conventional imaging is more readily available than next-generation imaging, its limited sensitivity indicates a necessary shift to more advanced tools like PMSA PET. Similarly, since prostate cancer will advance after initial treatment in 30-50% of patients, he sees an opportunity to use PSMA PET to identify patients who require further treatment or who have metastases undetected by conventional imaging.

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Practical Applications and Clinical Utility of PYLARIFY Injection: Implications for Urology and Radiation Oncology

Phillip J. Koo, MD, Division Chief of Diagnostic Imaging and Northwest Region Oncology Physician Executive at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discusses the expansion of the role and utility of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in the management of prostate cancer. He highlights the fact that this next-generation imaging (NGI) technology will lead to changes to diagnostic approach and management, explaining that a landscape change is imminent as NGI is poised to fundamentally change the medical management of prostate cancer.

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PSMA Targeted Therapies and the Role of the Urologist

Phillip J. Koo, MD, Division Chief of Diagnostic Imaging and Northwest Region Oncology Physician Executive at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discusses PSMA targeted therapies for prostate cancer and the urologist’s role in using radiotherapy. He begins by looking at the results of the VISION trial of lutetium-177 PSMA-617 for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), explaining that radioligand therapy significantly increased overall survival and radiographic progression-free survival. Dr. Koo then considers the TheraP trial of lutetium-177 PSMA-617 versus cabazitaxel which saw far better PSA response in PSMA arm than in the cabazitaxel one. He notes that the amount of imaging used in patient selection for TheraP would be impractical in a real-world setting. Dr. Koo also looks at the slate of upcoming clinical trials of PSMA, highlighting the number of combination therapy trials in the CRPC setting, as well as the number of trials looking at PSMA’s potential role in earlier phases of the disease. Finally, Dr. Koo discusses the role of the urologist in the new PSMA era, arguing that urologists need to understand and be comfortable with PSMA since it is an increasingly important tool for treating advanced prostate cancer. He recommends that urologists create advanced prostate cancer clinics featuring targeted radiotherapy clinics.

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