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New fusion technology combines MRI and ultrasound to better detect high-risk prostate cancer

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | February 02, 2015
MRI Rad Oncology Ultrasound
A new fusion technology that combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound has shown better rates of high-risk prostate cancer detection than standard biopsy.

University of Maryland School of Medicine and NIH researchers reported their findings, involving more than 1,000 men over a seven-year period, in JAMA.

"This study demonstrates that targeted fusion-guided biopsy could significantly enhance our ability to identify patients with high-risk prostate cancers that need more aggressive treatment," reported lead author Mohummad Minhaj Siddiqui, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of urologic robotic surgery at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

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The study found that 30 percent more high-risk prostate cancers were diagnosed with targeted fusion-guided biopsy than with standard biopsy. In addition, 17 percent fewer low-risk cancers were diagnosed with the new approach, compared to the older method. In a targeted biopsy,

MRIs are fused with real-time ultrasound images, creating a map of the prostate with this technique. This lets suspicious areas be identified and tested. The standard approach is to use ultrasound guidance to take multiple random tissue samples from the gland.

Thanks to this approach, now undergoing further clinical trials, it may be possible both to improve patient care and also make evidence-based decisions that alter, or even, reduce, costly and unneeded treatment.

"There is a concern that we over-diagnose and over-treat low-risk cancers that are unlikely to be terminal, and this technology enables us to make a more reliable diagnosis than the current standard practice," observed Siddiqui.

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