March 29, 2019

Can a MRI of my prostate replace a biopsy?

Although it does not replace a prostate biopsy, doctors increasingly using imaging technology to help diagnose and treat prostate cancer. One of these technologies is the multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI). It is a sophisticated technology that involves creating detailed three-dimensional images of the prostate and surrounding tissue, using waves and a magnetic field. The images are reconstructed by a computer and interpreted by a radiologist.

The mpMRI has become increasingly useful for identifying abnormal areas within the prostate suspicious for cancer. The hope is that this imaging technique will enable a more precise biopsy of areas with cancer and minimize unnecessary biopsies in patients without life-threatening cancer. Researchers are cur­rently studying when to use a prostate mpMRI in clinical practice.

In 2017, the Canadian Urological Association (CUA) recommended that patients with a prior negative biopsy who demonstrate an increasing risk of clinically significant prostate cancer (raising PSA levels, symptoms, etc.) may benefit from an mpMRI prior to repeat biopsy.

The Canadian Cancer Society says an mpMRI can be used to:

  • Look for cancer in the front of the prostate that may be missed with other tests
  • Look for prostate cancer when the doctor thinks it might be present, but it isn’t found with a biopsy
  • Measure the size of the prostate or a tumour in the prostate
  • Plan radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer
  • Guide the needle during a prostate biopsy
  • See if cancer has spread outside of the prostate

When to use an mpMRI is still under study, and its use in managing prostate cancer is evolving. There is no doubt that this imaging technique will be increasingly useful in managing pros­tate cancer in the future.

You have questions or concerns? Contact us at 1 855 899-2872 to discuss them with one of our nurses specialized in uro-oncology.

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Sources et references
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis –
Prostate Cancer – Understand the disease and its treatments; Fred Saad, MD, FRCSC and Michael McCormack, MD, FRCSC; 4th & 5th editions

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