Theranostics and how it works

Theranostics is a treatment using diagnostic imaging to identify if target receptors are present on cancer cells, followed by precision radiation treatment that target these receptors.


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Theranostics can be used to treat cancers that have spread (metastasised), or where cancer is advanced and/or hasn’t responded to other treatments.

While in the future theranostics may be used for different cancers, to date most experience and success has been in metastatic prostate cancer and neuroendocrine tumours.

Metastatic prostate cancer

How it works

Theranostics is a personalised approach to treating cancer, using both diagnosis and therapy tools as part of the treatment. Theranostics uses PET scan imaging (a special type of scan) to see if specific targets, known as tumour receptors, are present on tumour cells.

If these targets are present and visible on the scan, a radioactive drug is used to treat the tumours. The drug is given as an injection and selectively targets the tumour cells while avoiding healthy areas. Most of the radioactive drug that doesn’t reach the target is quickly passed out of the body.

Limited clinical trial evidence is available for the use of theranostics in prostate cancer and the treatment has not yet been reviewed by the Australian Medicines Regulator – The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Access to treatment is authorised via the TGA Special Access Scheme, a scheme for compassionate access to medicines before registration. It is an out of pocket expense for patients as theranostics is not currently covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

Types of theranostics treatments we offer

  1. Treatment for advanced prostate cancer

    Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy (Lu-PSMA) is a new treatment for advanced prostate cancer. It delivers high doses of targeted radiation to the cancer sites. It’s used to specifically target the abnormal cells while limiting damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

    Learn more

  2. Treatment for advanced neuroendocrine tumours

    Lutetium-177 Octreotate therapy (Lu-Octreotate) is a treatment for advanced neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) or carcinoids.

    It delivers high doses of targeted radiation to the cancer sites. It’s used to specifically target the abnormal cells while limiting damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This therapy has been used for almost 20 years in this tumour type and is now approved for the treatment of progressive advanced neuroendocrine tumours in Europe and the USA.

    Learn more

Theranostics patient journey

It is important that you feel informed and supported on your Theranostics treatment journey. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Here are questions that others often ask:

What to expect:

Before treatment commences, your Nuclear Medicine Physician will explain the treatment process, treatment options and any potential side effects. You will receive a care plan tailored to your needs.


What to expect:

Any out of pocket costs associated with your treatment will be discussed with you in a clear and simple way before you commence treatment.


What to expect:

In order to develop your treatment plan, you will be required to attend a few appointments.
These will include a visit to an imaging department and pathology centre for your blood tests.



What to expect:

Prior to receiving your cycle of treatment, your Nuclear medical Medicine Physician will review your results and confirm your treatment plan.


What to expect:

A nurse will assess your overall health status.

You will be given a tour of the department and an overview of what to expect.


What to expect:

A nuclear medicine technologist or nuclear medicine physician will deliver your treatment via an injection and monitor you regularly. A nurse will check that you are hydrated throughout the day by ensuring you have enough liquids or may put you on a drip if necessary. The treatment will last approximately 4 hours.


Where is theranostics offered?

We currently have four centres in Australia offering theranostics treatment for our patients.

  1. Hollywood Private Hospital, Perth, WA

  2. Waratah Private Hospital, Sydney, NSW

  3. John Flynn Private Hospital, Gold Coast, QLD

  4. Chermside Medical Complex, Brisbane, QLD

  5. North Shore Private Hospital, Sydney, NSW

Our partnerships

For enquiries regarding partnership opportunities, please contact us via


News on Theranostics

We have entered a clinical alliance with Noxopharm to offer a compassionate access program with Noxopharm’s novel lead product candidate, Veyonda®, for patients with advanced, treatment-resistant, metastatic prostate cancer (mCRPC) being treated with theranostics. Following promising clinical outcomes from the compassionate use program and early clinical research, we have formalised an arrangement to make the therapy available for use in patients with few treatment alternatives. For more information click here


Title Author/s Journal & Date

EANM procedure guidelines for radionuclide therapy with 177Lu-labelled PSMA-ligands (177Lu-PSMA-RLT)


Kratochwil C, Fendler W, Eiber M et al.

Journal & Date

May 2019


Theranostics for Advanced Prostate Cancer: Current Indications and Future Developments


Farolfi A, Fendler W, Iravani A et al.

Journal & Date

January 2019


[1⁷⁷Lu]-PSMA-617 radionuclide treatment in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (LuPSMA trial): a single-centre, single-arm, phase 2 study


Hofman M, Violet J, Hicks R et al.

Journal & Date

June 2018


Current status of theranostics in prostate cancer


Virgolini I, Decristoforo C, Haug A et al.

Journal & Date

March 2018


Treatment Outcome, Toxicity, and Predictive Factors for Radioligand Therapy with 177Lu-PSMA-I&T in Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer


Heck M, Tauber R, Schwaiger S et al.

Journal & Date

November 2018