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UCL research shows MRI twice as likely as biopsy to detect prostate cancer

A study led by UCL researchers has shown that MRI is able to detect 93% of aggressive cancers, including prostate cancer, compared with the 48% found through biopsy.

  • The trial, led by the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL and partly hosted at UCLH, has shown that over a quarter of men with suspected prostate cancer could avoid an invasive biopsy if they undergo a multi-parametric MRI (MP-MRI) scan first.

    Transrectal ultrasound-guided (TRUS) biopsies, the current procedure for identifying prostate tumours, is only 48% accurate in detecting clinically important cancers, and can cause pain, bleeding and urinary and erectile side effects.

  • Dr Hashim Ahmed, UCLH consultant and clinical partner on the Institute of Healthcare Engineering Prostate Cancer Flagship Programme, said:

  • “The results of this study show clearly that having an MRI scan, followed by a TRUS biopsy if the scan is positive, can dramatically improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer. What’s more, combining MRI with biopsy could improve the detection of aggressive prostate cancers, reducing the need for repeat biopsies.”

  • The Prostate MRI Imaging Study aims to improve the future accuracy of prostate cancer diagnoses and patient treatment by investigating whether MRI can avoid the need for biopsies to identify prostate cancer, and increase the accuracy of biopsies for men who do have them.

    Find out more on the UCLH website.