UK scientists have announced a clinical trial to test whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will allow routine screening for prostate cancer.
The decision came after the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care of the United Kingdom (NICE) made recent updates on its guidelines to include the 10-minute exam as an effective approach to the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Called Reimagine, the new study will evaluate the use of MRI scans in population screening for accurate detection of prostate cancer, which accounts for nearly 11,800 deaths a year in the UK.
The existing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is considered unreliable for routine screening. About three in four men with increased PSA will not have cancer and the test may also fail more than one in ten cancers, the BBC added.
Together with the ability of the medical imaging technique to detect cancer early, ReIMAGINE will investigate its use in combination with other technologies, such as genomics and automatic learning, to predict the progression of cancer.
The aim of the study is to determine whether magnetic resonance imaging could offer a better alternative for prostate biopsies.
A total of 1,000 men with medium to high-risk cancer will be included in the study. In addition, the test will be provided to 300 men aged 60 to 75 in the community.
Mark Emberton, a professor at University College London, said, "We will be testing whether MRI can be used for screening men and we expect it to detect serious cancers that are missing.
"Magnetic resonance imaging for prostate cancer can also help a quarter of a million men, perhaps as many as half a million men a year, to avoid an unnecessary biopsy if MRI is negative.
"Most men are sure that they do not have prostate cancer, and most of all, they can avoid the damage of a biopsy, and health systems can avoid costs. MRI is the perfect tool because it is relatively inexpensive , widely available and reliable. "
Emberton is part of the academic consortium responsible for the ReIMAGINE project.