Although the only way to fully conclude that prostate cancer is present, a new study has suggested that MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) can be an effective tool in identifying which patients truly need a prostate biopsy and which patients do not need one.
Published online February 22, 2018 by JAMA Oncology, the study included 651 men screened for prostate cancer with blood tests and digital rectal exams. Each participant in the study underwent three separate procedures. The first was an MRI scan, the second procedure was a biopsy guided by transrectal ultrasound (TRUS), and the third procedure was a biopsy that was guided by both MRI and TRUS.
After undergoing all three procedures, 289 of the male participants were identified as having significant prostate cancer, defined as a Gleason score of 7 or higher. Researchers concluded that using the MRI scans to determine the need for biopsy could have avoided 38% of biopsies and still identified 89% of clinically significant cancers. They also determined that having an MRI first may be a productive step in helping men decide whether they need a biopsy.