Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Using MRI scans to target biopsies is more effective at detecting prostate cancers that are likely to need treatment than standard ultrasound guided biopsies alone, according to research published on 7 August in JAMA Network Open. The research, led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Universities of Bristol, Ottawa, Exeter and Oxford, combined the results from seven studies covering 2,582 patients.

The researchers found that the use of pre-biopsy MRI combined with targeted prostate biopsy was better than a biopsy alone in detecting prostate cancers that are likely to need treatment, despite the differences between the seven individual studies. Using pre-biopsy MRI led to fewer biopsy cores being taken per procedure, which in turn reduced side effects, and may potentially lead to avoiding biopsies for some men.

Taken together, this new evidence supports the use of pre-biopsy MRI in diagnostic pathways for suspected prostate cancer.

Prostate biopsies can cause side effects, and do not always identify the severity of a cancer when it is present. MRI scans are increasingly being used before undertaking a prostate biopsy as part of the clinical pathway to diagnose prostate cancer, but their use isn’t yet widespread in many countries. In the UK, pre-biopsy MRI has recently been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The researchers looked at existing research in this area, focusing on men who had never had a prostate biopsy before.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence that targeting biopsies through pre-biopsy MRI, in men being checked for possible prostate cancer, leads to a more accurate sampling of the prostate gland. - Professor Richard Bryant

Professor Richard Bryant, an Academic Consultant Urologist at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at Oxford University and one of the authors of the paper, said:

“This research adds to the growing body of evidence that targeting biopsies through pre-biopsy MRI, in men being checked for possible prostate cancer, leads to a more accurate sampling of the prostate gland. It could also potentially lead to fewer biopsies and less chance of a misleading biopsy result, through better initial sampling. Whilst there are obviously benefits for men to have a prostate biopsy if indicated, so that we can diagnose and then treat clinically significant prostate cancer, if we can reduce the potential side effects and increase the accuracy of the initial biopsy procedure, then that will be better for patients.”

Dr Martha Elwenspoek, Research Associate at the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (NIHR CLAHRC West) and the University of Bristol, said:

“Our findings suggest that using an MRI to guide prostate biopsies is superior to performing a biopsy alone. This is increasingly used in the UK but isn’t yet common practice in many other countries. However our work shows that this approach is better at detecting cancer that requires treatment, while also potentially avoiding some unnecessary biopsy procedures.

“This chimes with the findings of another recent paper looking at this issue."

The full publication, Comparison of multiparametric magnet resonance imaging and targeted biopsy with systematic biopsy alone for the diagnosis of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis, is available to read in the journal JAMA Network Open. 

 

Media coverage

Better detection of clinically significant prostate cancer with MRI plus targeted biopsy
Medscape, 18/08/2019

Meta-analysis supports MRI plus targeted biopsy for prostate cancer diagnosis
medwireNews, 13/08/2019

Are MRI-assisted biopsies more effective than standard ultrasound-guided biopsies alone in the detection of prostate cancer?
The ASCO Post, 14/08/2019

MRI's improve targeting of biopsies for prostate cancer diagnosis
MedicalResearch.com, 07/08/2019

New study calls for prebiopsy MR scans in prostate cancer assessment
HealthCareBusiness, 16/08/2019

Similar stories

Oxford's largest ever study into varicose veins shows need for surgery is linked to genetics

Varicose veins are a very common manifestation of chronic venous disease, affecting over 30% of the population in Western countries. In America, chronic venous disease affects over 11 million men and 22 million women aged 40–80 years old. Left untreated it can escalate to multiple health complications including leg ulcers and ultimately amputations. A new international study by Oxford researchers published on 2 June 2022 in Nature Communications establishes for the first time, a critical genetic risk score to predict the likelihood of patients suffering with varicose veins to require surgery, as well as pointing the way towards potential new therapies.

New reporting guidelines developed to improve AI in healthcare settings

New reporting guidelines, jointly published in Nature Medicine and the BMJ by Oxford researchers, will ensure that early studies on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to treat real patients will give researchers the information needed to develop AI systems safely and effectively.

Results of the REF 2021: congratulations and thank you

Today, the UK funding bodies have published the results of the UK’s most recent national research assessment exercise, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

Blog posts

Oxford MedSci goes silver: 10 Years of Athena SWAN

The Medical Sciences Division is celebrating 10 years since its first Athena Swan bronze application, and the first year in which all 16 of its departments have achieved a silver award. The silver award recognises commitment to gender equality, understanding culture and context, and more. Read about our department’s hard work and innovation.

Lights, camera, action! My journey into video production

Dr Hannah McGivern provides a 'behind-the-scenes' account of her experience producing the video 'Journey of a QUOD Sample: Donating to Transplant Research', supported by the funds from the University of Oxford Public Engagement with Research (PER) Seed Fund.

Mentoring in practice

NDS has launched a new, interdepartmental mentoring scheme called RECOGNISE. In this podcast, Gemma Horbatowski (HR Advisor) interviews Monica Dolton (Programme Manager and Research Project Manager) about her experiences of mentor-mentee relationships.