Study reveals adding MRI-targeted biopsy leads to more reliable diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer


In a breakthrough study, researchers found that using a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) along with a standard prostate biopsy is significantly more likely to detect the most aggressive prostate cancers.
This finding, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, could allow a higher percentage of prostate cancer patients to avoid unnecessary treatment for slow-growing prostate cancers that are not likely to spread. The new study was conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) researchers including one who is now at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).
According to the study co-author M. Minhaj Siddiqui, MD, FACS, an associate professor of surgery at UMSOM and a collaborating member of the NCI research team, "This study demonstrated that using a combination of both types of biopsies leads to more detection of prostate cancers and is less likely to miss aggressive cancers that can spread and kill.
"This is an important finding that will be practice-changing as we see more cancer centres adopting both types of biopsy methods. Those of us who have already adopted this cutting-edge technology can now give physicians and patients alike the confidence that their prostate cancer diagnosis is accurate and that hard-to- diagnose aggressive cancers are not being missed."
About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it, and many have milder forms of the disease that do not require immediate treatment but can instead be carefully monitored, called active surveillance, to make sure the tumour is not growing or becoming more aggressive.
Traditional biopsies, that use ultrasound imaging to locate the gland and randomly remove 12 core tissues samples, have been known to miss aggressive cancers, however, so doctors have not felt comfortable relying on them for treatment guidance for fear of under-treating patients with deadly tumours. As a result, many men with milder forms of the disease have been over-treated with surgery or radiation which often leads to side effects such as impotence and incontinence.
In a targeted biopsy, MRIs of the suspected cancer are fused with real-time ultrasound images, creating a map of the prostate that enables doctors to pinpoint and test suspicious areas.
"With greater confidence in our ability to make an accurate diagnosis, we are better able to use more conservative approaches, such as active surveillance, to manage patients sparing them adverse side effects," says Dr Siddiqui, who is also Director of Urologic Oncology and Robotic Surgery at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC).
The NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centre offers MRI-targeted biopsy, with expanded treatment options, including focal therapy to surgically remove only the tumour, sparing the prostate. For the study, Dr Siddiqui and his colleagues evaluated 2,103 men who all had both traditional biopsies using ultrasound and targeted biopsies guided by MRIs to check for prostate cancer.
They then examined the prostate glands of 404 of these patients who were diagnosed with prostate cancer and had their gland surgically removed; they found that aggressive cancers went undetected in 16.8 per cent of the standard biopsies compared to 8.8 per cent of MRI-targeted biopsies; when the two biopsy methods were combined, only 3.5 per cent of aggressive cancers were missed.
"These findings suggest that combined biopsy provides improved diagnostic accuracy over either systemic or MRI-targeted biopsy alone and better predicts the result of the final histopathological analysis," the researchers wrote in the study.

Share This Story

Comment On This Story


Photo Gallery

BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty