Using MRI as Initial Test for Cancer May Reduce Unnecessary Biopsies

Using MRI as Initial Test for Cancer May Reduce Unnecessary Biopsies
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an initial test for suspected prostate cancer patients could spare those who do not have aggressive disease from an unnecessary biopsy, researchers said. The study, "Diagnostic accuracy of multi-parametric MRI and TRUS biopsy in prostate cancer (PROMIS): a paired validating confirmatory study," published in The Lancet, shows that about a quarter of biopsies could be avoided by adding an MRI test, and the diagnosis of harmless cancers could be reduced by 5%. A biopsy usually is recommended when patients have high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or have experienced cancer symptoms. But the PSA test is not always accurate, and many men without cancer undergo unnecessary biopsies, the researchers said. "Prostate cancer has aggressive and harmless forms. Our current biopsy test can be inaccurate because the tissue samples are taken at random. This means it cannot confirm whether a cancer is aggressive or not and can miss aggressive cancers that are actually there. Because of this some men with no cancer or harmless cancers are sometimes given the wrong diagnosis and are then treated even though this offers no survival benefit and can often cause side effects. On top of these errors in diagnosis, the current biopsy test can cause side effects such as bleeding, pain and serious infections." the study's lead author, Hashim Ahmed, PhD, of University College London, said in a
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