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Novel Imaging Technique to Improve Prostate Biopsy Detection

The severity of prostate cancer, which was the leading cause of newly diagnosed cancers in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in men last year, can be detected with a non-invasive imaging that would help doctors in the precise and effective determination of appropriate treatment.

The current standard of care for detecting and diagnosing prostate cancer is contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which involves intravenously injecting patients with a contrast agent to highlight blood flow. Greater blood flow is often a requirement of growing cancer cells. When compared to surrounding healthy tissues, it’s hoped that contrast enhanced MRIs will reveal the shape and nature of any tumors present.

However, the new approach is called restriction spectrum imaging-MRI or RSI-MRI. “This new approach is a more reliable imaging technique for localising tumours. It provides a better target for biopsies, especially for smaller tumours,” said first author Rebecca Rakow-Penner from University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

The technique is also valuable in surgical planning and image staging, David Karow, assistant professor of radiology at UC San Diego pointed out.

The new technique improves upon the current standard of care for detecting and diagnosing prostate cancer, contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which involves intravenously injecting patients with a contrast agent to highlight blood flow.

It also incorporates the features of an imaging technique called diffusion MRI that measures the diffusion of water and has been a standard imaging technique in the brain.

The new approach corrects magnetic field distortions found in earlier methods and focuses upon water diffusion within tumour cells.

By doing both, the ability of imaging to accurately plot a tumour’s location is increased and there is a more refined sense of the tumour’s extent, said Nathan White, assistant project scientist at UC San Diego.

The study appeared in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease.

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