Quick MRI scans could pick up twice as many serious prostate cancer cases as existing tests, research finds
- Simple ten-minute scan produces far better results in identifying cases
- Each year, 52,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer
- READ MORE: The warning sign that could indicate you have prostate cancer
A simple ten-minute scan picks up twice as many serious prostate cancer cases as the existing test, research published today suggests.
Using a quick MRI scan produces far better results in identifying cases than the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test, according to the study.
Under current guidelines, men with a PSA reading of below 3 nanograms per millilitre would be considered low risk for prostate cancer and not referred for further investigations.
But more than half of the men in the trial whose MRI scan identified an abnormality and were then diagnosed with prostate cancer serious enough to need treatment had a PSA below 3.
The study was also the first to measure PSA ‘density’ – a figure based on the PSA level from a blood test compared with the volume of the prostate gland.
Using a quick MRI scan produces far better results in identifying cases than the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test, according to the study
Terry Noonan, 64, took part in the trial and found out he had an aggressive cancer. He had his prostate removed within weeks and is now cancer free
Experts think this is more accurate because PSA levels and the size of the prostate increase with age.
‘I was so lucky to be in the trial’
Retired accountant Terry Noonan was 61 when his GP suggested he join a trial to see whether a ten-minute MRI scan was better at diagnosing prostate cancer than the standard PSA blood test.
Mr Noonan’s scan at University College London Hospital in November 2020 revealed he was at risk. His PSA density – a new measure for screening which combines a man’s PSA level with the volume of the prostate gland, measured by the MRI scan – was also raised.
Further tests confirmed he had an aggressive cancer. He had his prostate removed within weeks and is now cancer free. Mr Noonan, 64, said: ‘I feel very lucky – the treatment was a complete success.’
The standard PSA test can lead to older men being wrongly told they are at risk because their PSA is raised.
Scientists involved in the study, called REIMAGINE, believe the ten-minute MRI, combined with PSA density, could revolutionise prostate cancer diagnosis and possibly lead to a national screening programme for the disease.
Caroline Moore, a professor of urology at University College London and consultant at University College London Hospital who led the research, said: ‘The thought that over half of the men with clinically significant cancer had a PSA less than 3ng/ml – and would have been reassured that they didn’t have cancer – is a sobering one and reiterates the need to consider a new approach to screening.
‘Our results give an early indication that MRI could offer a more reliable method of detecting potentially serious cancers early.’
Each year, 52,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with the cancer, and more than 12,000 die of it.
The standard PSA test remains the most common way of seeing who needs further testing, despite it being unreliable.
This leads to some having unnecessary tests, and those with cancer being diagnosed late.
In the new study, 303 men aged 50 to 75 had a ten-minute MRI scan of the prostate as well as a PSA density test.
The MRI suggested 16 per cent – 48 men – were at risk of cancer, yet two thirds of these men had a PSA under 3.
More detailed scans showed 25 of these men had cancer serious enough to need treatment, 15 of whom would not have been picked up by a standard PSA test.
Separately, the PSA density test identified a further 16 men at risk of prostate cancer of whom four were found to have disease that needed treatment.
Source: Read Full Article