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Targeted biopsy detects high-risk prostate cancers better than standard biopsy

Targeted biopsy technique is more accurate than standard biopsy in detecting high-risk prostate cancers, according to a recent study.

In the standard biopsy technique, also known as a core needle biopsy, the doctor extracts tissue samples from the prostate with a thin, hollow needle. Thereafter, the tissue samples are sent to a pathologist who assesses them for any cell anomalies that indicate cancer.

According to the team of researchers headed by Dr. Mohammad Minhaj Siddiqui from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the method employed in the study entails a combination of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They state that it can in effect distinguish high-risk prostate cancers from the low risk prostate cancers.

Dr. Siddiqui and his research team analyzed 1,003 men who were referred for biopsy following either a digital rectal examination (DRE) or a positive prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A targeted ultrasound/MRI biopsy and standard biopsy was administered to all men and the researchers did a comparison of the prostate cancer detection accuracy of both the techniques.

The findings showed that 461 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed using standard biopsy and 469 were diagnosed using targeted biopsy method. Both the techniques gave similar results in 69 percent of the cases.

But, the research team came to know that the targeted biopsy technique detected 30 percent more high-risk prostate cancers as compared to standard biopsy method and 17 percent less low-risk cancers. A combination of both the techniques resulted in the diagnosis of 22 percent more low-risk cancers.

Apart from this, the research team employed each method to assess biopsied tissue as well as tissue extracted from the prostate of 170 men who had undergone a prostatectomy. From this, they deduced that the targeted biopsy method was better at detecting low- as well as intermediate-risk prostate cancers as against the standard biopsy technique.

The new study has been published in JAMA.