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Using multiple imaging measures could improve prostate cancer diagnosis

Combining a variety of different imaging parameters could be more accurate at diagnosing prostate cancer than an experienced radiologist, a new study reports.

Researchers found they achieved optimal detection of tumours by analysing a series of parameters taken by magnetic resonance imaging, including measures of blood vessel growth and of choline, polyamines and creatine.

Using the statistical model combining these magnetic resonance measures was better than an expert observer at identifying tumours within the prostate. The sensitivity of detection was 18% better with the statistical model than with the expert radiologist.

Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research, London, tested a series of magnetic resonance parameters in 24 patients before they had their prostate removed. They compared a statistical analysis that combined all the magnetic resonance measures with a radiologist with more than 10 years’ experience in prostate cancer viewing the images.

The study, published in European Radiology, received support from Cancer Research UK, and additional funding from an NIHR studentship.

A statistical model combining the magnetic resonance measures was able to detect prostate cancers that matched the exact location of cancers identified within the prostate after it was surgically removed. When specificity was set at >90% to avoid false positives, the sensitivity of detection with the statistical model was 59%, compared with 41% sensitivity for an expert observer.

The best detection was achieved when researchers combined magnetic imaging measures of tissue biology with anatomical imaging, and was much more accurate than using individual imaging parameters.

Study leader Professor Nandita deSouza, Professor of Translational Imaging at the ICR, and an honorary consultant at The Royal Marsden, said: “If we can accurately assess tumour extent and grade within the prostate using these combined imaging techniques, it will help guide our treatment decisions. Patients can be quickly assessed for their levels or care, be it active surveillance, targeted radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy.”
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