A More Effective, Precise — and Comfortable — Prostate Biopsy
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men. Finding it just got faster and easier for Tanner patients with the introduction of the latest screening technology — targeted fusion biopsy — at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.
The new technology leverages the high-quality imaging of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound — unlike previous processes which used one or the other — to provide physicians with a higher-quality image of the prostate gland.
This enables easier identification of potential problem areas and targeted biopsy of suspicious tissue for pathology examination, rather than the previous template sampling of 12 sites within the gland. A quicker diagnosis leads to faster treatment and better patient outcomes.
Here at Tanner, the targeted fusion biopsy —the Phillips Uronav System — will be used for patients who have a history of indications for prostate cancer, like elevated prostate-specific antigen scores and lower urinary tract symptoms, as well as previous negative prostate biopsies.
The patient will undergo an MRI first. A Tanner radiologist will highlight any suspicious lesions in the prostate for biopsy. The radiologist reads the MRI like a mammogram, scoring any visual abnormalities as low, intermediate or high-grade, with the latter as the most worrisome. If a potentially serious abnormality is seen in the MRI, the patient is called back for a biopsy.
In preparation for the biopsy, the patient’s MRI is uploaded to a computer, reconstructed into a 3-D image and superimposed like an anatomical map over a 3-D real-time ultrasound monitor on the computer. An ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum marries the Uronav system with the MRI image, showing where the suspicious prostate lesion is located and a live ultrasound image during the navigated biopsy.
Advanced navigational tools enable the probe’s electromagnetic sensor to find the precise location of the suspicious tissue on the MRI in order to collect several biopsy samples via a biopsy needle to be sent to the pathologist for further review.
Until the advent of this new fusion technology, biopsies to identify prostate cancer remained largely unchanged for almost three decades. Using an ultrasound probe, the physician removed a templated sample of prostate tissue — usually without any awareness of any lesions or confirmation that suspicious areas were sampled. The random sampling was necessary because good quality imaging of the prostate to find potential tumors was not available.
The advanced technology provides the patient with certainty and next steps in fighting cancer. Clinical research has proven the targeted fusion biopsy to be superior to random biopsy in identifying aggressive, high-risk cancer faster. The new technology detected 30% more aggressive prostate cancers than the random biopsy.
Research also showed that MRI and subsequent targeted biopsy provided a more accurate assessment of the aggressiveness of a prostate cancer than standard, random biopsy. Research continues to determine if targeted fusion biopsies may prove helpful in the process of deciding whether to pursue surgery for prostate cancer or opt for a “watchful waiting” approach.
Ultimately, it’s all about improving men’s long-term survival by allowing aggressive treatment of prostate cancers that are most likely to spread to other parts of the body, and by limiting interventions for cancers that are slow-growing.
It’s about delivering the best quality of care with the most advanced technology and providing the patient with certainty and next steps in fighting cancer.
For more information on prostate cancer, visit https://www.tanner.org/cancer-care/what-we-offer/prostate-cancer.