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

Discovered gene patterns can predict prostate cancer treatment response

Nearly 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK. Perhaps the most significant clinical challenge today is deciding which type of treatment will work best for different patient groups.

Regent Lee wins top UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Dr Regent Lee of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences is one of eight Oxford University academics who have been awarded significant financial funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships Scheme.

Largest trial of carotid artery surgery and stenting finds similar long-term effects on stroke risk

Results from a major clinical trial demonstrate that both stenting and surgery are low-risk and similarly effective procedures for treating carotid artery disease.

New issue of JNDS now online

A new issue of the Journal of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (JNDS) has been published.

New Cochrane evidence highlights uncertainty about the interventions used to prevent and treat loss of smell after COVID-19 infection

Cochrane ENT at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences has published two systematic reviews investigating the effectiveness and safety of interventions to prevent and treat loss of smell following COVID-19 infection.

Blog posts

My virtual work experience with NDS and NDORMS

Louise Tan, a Year 12 student from Ballyclare in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, recently attended the joint NDS and NDORMS Virtual Work Experience. In this guest blog, Louise reflects on her experience.

Celebrating women of NDS

To celebrate 100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University and on the occasion of International Women's Day, a group of inspirational women in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) reflect on their journeys, their place in Medical Sciences and their vision for the next 100 years.

The life of a research nurse: supporting the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Research nurses in the NHS are playing a crucial role in helping to trial new coronavirus treatments and vaccines. Three NDS research nurses stepped up to help with the fight against this new disease. Here Bhumika Patel shares her experience of working on the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial.

Why I became a Peer Supporter

The Peer Support Programme was developed in recognition of the essential role students play in supporting and encouraging one another on a day-to-day basis throughout their time at university. NDS’ own Helen Stark discusses her experience of becoming a Peer Supporter.

Racism under the microscope

As Black History Month gets underway in the UK, NDS Athena SWAN Coordinator Emily Hotine puts racism under the microscope.