MRI provides more accurate prostate cancer diagnosis
The recent findings of a two-year-long clinical trial at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital in Australia suggests that by using a new system to detect prostate cancer called multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI), patients can avoid side effects of unnecessary treatment.
Currently, to detect prostate cancer, a man with raised PSA levels has to undergo a painful procedure called transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy (TRUSGB) that involves taking up to 30 random needle biopsies of his prostate through the rectum. With the new MRI-guided system, doctors first do a scan to see where a tumor might be located. Then, if the scan indicates a need, they take just two needle samples of that area, sparing the need for multiple biopsies.
The trial enrolled 223 patients with raised PSA levels. All of the patients underwent both diagnostic procedures: the standard TRUSGB, and the new method where an mpMRI scan is done first. Then, only patients whose MRI image indicated high-risk prostate cancer underwent MRI-guided biopsy.
The researchers concluded that the new system halved the number of men needing prostate biopsies, showed a 92 percent sensitivity (compared to 70 percent) in diagnosing life-threatening cancer, and cut the problem of over-diagnosis of non-life-threatening prostate cancer by around 90 percent.