New screening: MRI scans should detect prostate cancer earlier and more precisely

New screening: MRI scans should detect prostate cancer earlier and more precisely

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MRI instead of PSA

A new method of diagnosing prostate cancer is currently being tested. The promising test could be an improved screening program for the early detection of carcinoma in the prostate. A ten-minute magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan could soon replace the unreliable PSA test for early detection.

A research group from University College London (UCL) is currently conducting a large-scale study to determine whether an MRI scan is suitable for nationwide prostate cancer screening. The new diagnostic method showed promising results and could soon replace the PSA test, which has a high error rate. If the so-called "ReIMAGINE trial" shows positive results, the MRI scan should be introduced as a screening method in England.

The early detection of prostate cancer urgently needs to be optimized

One in eight men will develop prostate cancer in the course of their lives. The risk increases with age. Around three percent of all men die from it. Current methods of identifying fatal prostate cancer are not optimal. "Nowhere else in modern medicine is the error in terms of misdiagnosis, overtreatment and poor risk assessment more extreme than in the detection of prostate cancer," stressed the doctors at UCL. Many current treatments are not helpful or could even do harm.

What can the new MRI scan do?

The new diagnostic procedure combines the latest findings on the molecular changes in tumors with the latest imaging. This enables the prediction of a possible development of prostate cancer. In addition, the risk can be assessed as to whether an existing prostate cancer will progress over time or not. The new procedure could also make a large part of the biopsies (tissue samples) unnecessary, which in some cases do more harm than good.

Promising results

So far, the scan has only been tested on people who previously had the PSA test. It was shown that the scan identified men at risk twice as well as the standard prostate biopsy. In addition, the MRI scan has not yet missed any potentially fatal illness. Thus, the new method could lead to significantly more certainty in the diagnosis.

A large investigation should test the suitability

In the upcoming major investigation, 1000 men with an increased result in the PSA test will now be examined by the new MRI scan. Another 300 men between the ages of 50 and 75 should also be tested without a PSA test being carried out beforehand. "We know that MRI works well in men with an elevated PSA blood test," says deputy study director Professor Caroline Moore in a press release. Now it has to be assessed whether MRI is a useful test for screening in the general population.

Current methods have proven to be ineffective

"Previous screening methods based on PSA blood tests and traditional biopsies have not proven to be effective enough," emphasizes the professor. About 75 percent of men who showed elevated levels in the PSA test were not diagnosed with cancer later and 15 percent of men simply overlooked prostate cancer. If the non-invasive test detects cancers earlier and more reliably, this would help to improve the survival rates of prostate cancer, the researchers conclude. (vb)

You can find more on the topic in the articles "Prostate cancer: PSA screening tests do more harm than good" and "These are the 10 most important symptoms for prostate cancer".

Author and source information

Video: Elevated PSA u0026 MRI Targeted Biopsy - Prostate Cancer Webinar with Dr. Jim Hu (October 2022).