NPMC
Click Here to Subscribe!

E-Health Services

Daily Health News

  Latest News
  FDA Approvals
  FYI

Health Information

Newsletter Topics

Alzheimer's Disease
Anxiety
Arthritis
Blood Pressure
Breast Cancer
Cancer
Depression
Diabetes
Exercise / Fitness
Female Urological Disorders
Gastrointestinal Health
Healthy Diet
Heart Disease
Men's Health
Menopause
Neurology
Orthopedics
Pain Management
Parenting
Pediatrics
Pregnancy
Senior Caregiving
Seniors' Health
Sleep Disorders
Sports Medicine
Stroke
Weight Management
Women's Health
Women's Heart Health

 Latest News
Return to  
Daily Health Main Page
     

  Is MRI the 'Mammography' of Prostate Cancer Screening?
 
  Scanning might reduce unneeded biopsies and overtreatment, study suggests

 

SATURDAY, March 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- MRI screening might greatly reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer in older men, a preliminary study suggests.

Compared to the current screening method, MRI can reduce overdiagnosis of prostate cancer by 50 percent, and unnecessary biopsies by 70 percent in men over 70, Dutch researchers reported Saturday at a conference in England.

Prostate cancer is common in aging men, but it's often slow-growing and non-threatening.

Screening sometimes begins with a blood test to measure the level of PSA (prostate specific antigen). If elevated, it might indicate cancer. So, the next step is a needle biopsy, where a doctor takes multiple samples from the prostate and has them tested for cancer.

Because PSA testing is an inexact science, "the benefit of early prostate cancer detection with random biopsy generally does not outweigh the harm induced by screening," particularly in men 70 and older, said lead researcher Dr. Arnout Alberts.

These harms can include unnecessary radiation and surgery, explained Alberts, who is in the urology department at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

However, some elderly men may benefit from early detection, "and the use of MRI scans significantly reduces the harms and drawbacks of screening," he said.

For the study, Alberts and colleagues focused on 335 men, aged 71 and older, who had elevated blood PSA levels.

To determine who did and did not have prostate cancer, the investigators took six biopsy samples from the prostates of 177 men. Another 158 men had 12 samples taken, plus an MRI scan of their prostate before the biopsy.

If the MRI revealed a potentially cancerous area, then further MRI-targeted biopsy samples were taken, Alberts explained.

The research team found that biopsies using either six or 12 samples were, in most cases, able to detect serious cancers.

However, Alberts' team found that 70 percent of the men in the study would not have needed biopsies at all if MRI had been used beforehand, because no suspicious areas showed up on their scans.

Although MRI is more expensive than PSA testing, it could save money in the long run, in much the same way that mammography breast cancer screening has paid off for women, the researchers suggested.

One specialist, however, doesn't think MRI is the answer to the prostate cancer screening controversy.

"There is not enough data to say MRI is a home run, and there is not enough data to say it is cost-effective," said Dr. Anthony D'Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Data from other institutions shows that MRI finds only 80 percent of severe cancers and misses 50 percent of the other high-grade cancers, D'Amico said.

"So having a negative MRI doesn't mean that you don't have aggressive prostate cancer," he added.

Alberts countered that a larger trial has started, with 40,000 men randomly selected for MRI screening at various PSA levels or for no screening.

"This trial will hopefully further elucidate the role of MRI in prostate cancer screening," he said.

D'Amico believes the only way to know for sure if MRI effectively screens for prostate cancer is to scan thousands of patients and remove their prostate to analyze the type of cancer.

"This would need to be done before we could justify the cost of MRI, which could be several thousand dollars, as opposed to a PSA, which is in the $50 to $70 range," D'Amico said.

D'Amico said MRI might be of value in certain cases, however.

"If you have a high PSA and you have biopsies and they are all negative, consider MRI, not for screening, but because you probably have a cancer that has gone undetected," he said. "But if you don't have a high PSA, we shouldn't be using MRI as a substitute for PSA."

The study results were scheduled for presentation Saturday at a European Association of Urology conference in London. Findings presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

For more about prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

 
 
   More  Latest News
 
   •  How Doctors Decide to Treat a Ruptured Achilles
  Your health and activity level influence recommendation for or against surgery
 
Health Content Provided By:
The health content is provided for informational and educational purposes. It is intended for the general population and may not reflect specific conditions or risk of an individual or segment of the population. Therefore, it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, consultation, treatment or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of information obtained through these services.
E-Home | E-Health Services | Sample News | Subscribe | Feedback | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions
 
© 2010 NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER · 1910 MALVERN AVE · HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS 71901 · 501-321-1000 · SITEMAP · PRIVACY POLICY · TERMS & CONDITIONS -
 
ABOUT US SERVICES & TECHNOLOGY FOR PATIENTS & GUESTS FOR PHYSICIANS FOR EMPLOYEES COMMUNITY CAREERS