For the past 30 years, physicians have relied on a blind approach when conducting prostate biopsies, randomly placing needles in the prostate rather than directly aiming them at tumors. This approach often misses significant cancers and instead detects small, slow-growing tumors that pose little threat to a man's life.
Today, there is an alternative. MRI-Ultrasound fusion targeted Biopsy allows physicians to more accurately biopsy the prostate, targeting needles directly into suspicious areas that are identified on MRI.
"A better way of diagnosing prostate cancer is long overdue," says Geoff Sonn, MD, assistant professor of urology. Ultrasound works well to find the prostate, but it does not work well at identifying cancers within the prostate. larger, more aggressive cancers show up much better on MRI.
"When we biopsy using the targeted approach, we find more significant cancers and far fewer insignificant ones," he says.
How it works
A patient first receives an MRI. When he returns for his biopsy, the images are fused with real-time ultrasound to generate a three-dimensional model of the prostate that includes all suspicious areas to be targeted." Even though we can't see the cancer on the ultrasound, we can aim at that lesion by fusing these two modalities," says Sonn. "Basically, the device helps direct my needle to the right spot."
More than a third of men with previous negative conventional biopsies, whose PSA continues to rise, are found to have cancer using targeted biopsy.
Who to refer
Targeted biopsy is available to men who want the most advanced technology for their first biopsy; men who've had a prior negative biopsy but whose PSA continues to rise; and men with low-risk prostate cancer on active surveillance.
To refer a patient for targeted prostate biopsy, call the physician referral line at 866-742-4811 or fax 650-320-9443.