• Imaging approach raises hopes of improving Prostate Cancer outcomes
    University of Dundee's School of Medicine

News & Views

Imaging approach raises hopes of improving Prostate Cancer outcomes

Aug 07 2023

Combining ultrasound and MRI technology can help detect prostate cancer at an earlier stage and potentially save lives, according to new University of Dundee research led by Ghulam Nabi, Professor of Surgical Uro-oncology at the University’s School of Medicine. The MULTIPROS study found that US/MRI fusion targeted biopsy detected more clinically significant prostate cancer lesions than existing detection methods.

The most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 47,000 new cases diagnosed every year, prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50 and the risk increases with age. The risk is also higher for black men (1 in 4) or men with a family history of prostate cancer. The most common tests used are a PSA blood test, digital rectal examination, MRI scans and biopsy; however each carries significant problems, with MRI scans unable to always give a definitive answer. Ultrasound has similar issues, however combining the two forms of biopsy could potentially increase the detection rate of cancers.

The research has already changed the detection and management of prostate cancer in the NHS Tayside area, and Professor Nabi said the results should inform future diagnosis guidelines. “As with all cancers, the earlier that prostate cancer is detected then the more likely that a patient will have a more positive outcome. Anything that speeds up diagnosis is therefore potentially lifesaving.

“What is particularly notable is the fact that the ultrasound/MRI fusion approach was not only more effective at identifying prostate cancer, but also more clinically significant lesions. One of the problems with current diagnostic methods is that they are sometimes unable to identify which cancers are benign and which need treatment.

“Our results suggest that if this approach was given to men routinely then prostate cancers would be detected earlier, lives would be saved and unnecessary surgeries avoided.”

The research was funded by Prostate Cancer UK, Movember and the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office.

Dr Hayley Luxton, Senior Research Impact & Intelligence Manager at Prostate Cancer UK, said, “We’re excited that this research adds to existing evidence showing that targeted biopsies, guided by mpMRI imaging, improve the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnoses – which could lead to more men with the disease living better and longer lives. More work now needs to be done to ensure that these targeted biopsies pick up everything and that’s why we continue to fund research.”

Published in Radiology

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