MRI instead of PSA
Currently, a new method for the diagnosis of prostate cancer is being tested. The promising test may be suitable as an improved screening program for the early detection of prostate carcinoma. A 10 minute magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may soon replace the unreliable PSA screening test.
A research group from University College London (UCL) is currently conducting a large-scale study to determine whether an MRI scan is appropriate for national prostate cancer screening. The new diagnostic method showed promising results and may soon replace the PSA test, which presents a high error rate. When the so-called "Reimagine Trial" shows positive results, magnetic resonance imaging should be introduced as a screening method in England.
Early detection of prostate cancer needs urgent optimization
Every eighth man suffers from prostate cancer in the course of his life. The risk increases with age. About three percent of all men die from it. Current methods of identifying lethal prostate cancer are not ideal. "Nowhere else in modern medicine are mistakes in terms of incorrect diagnosis, excessive treatment, and poor risk assessment that are more extreme than in the detection of prostate cancer," UCL doctors emphasize. Many current treatments are not useful or can even cause damage.
What can the new MRI do?
The new diagnostic procedure combines cutting-edge insights into molecular changes in tumors with state-of-the-art imaging. This allows for the prediction of a possible development of prostate cancer. In addition, the risk of an existing prostate cancer disease progressing over time or can not be estimated. The new procedure can also eliminate most of the biopsies (tissue collection), which in some cases cause more harm than good.
So far, the scan has only been tested on people who tested the PSA test previously. It was found that the test identified men threatened twice as much as standard prostate biopsy. In addition, the MRI scan has so far failed to detect a potentially fatal disease. Thus, the new method can lead to significantly greater safety in the diagnosis.
A major investigation should test the adequacy
In the next major investigation, 1000 men with an increase in PSA test result will now be examined by the new MRI scan. An additional 300 men between the ages of 50 and 75 years will be tested further, without having previously been subjected to a PSA test. "We know that MRI works well in men with a high PSA blood test," said study deputy director Caroline Moore in a press release. It should now be evaluated whether MRI is a useful screening test in the general population.
Current methods have proven to be ineffective
"Previous methods of screening based on blood tests and traditional PSA biopsies have proven to be ineffective enough," says the professor. In about 75% of men who have high levels in the PSA test, no cancer is diagnosed later and in 15% of men, prostate cancer is simply ignored. If the noninvasive test detects the cancer earlier and more reliably, this would help improve survival rates for prostate cancer, the researchers conclude. (Vb)
See the articles "Prostate cancer: PSA screening tests do more harm than good" and "These are the top 10 prostate cancer symptoms."