Modernizing the diagnostic and decision-making pathway for prostate cancer.
PSA has led to a drastic increase in the detection of prostate cancer, rendering this biomarker the gateway for the diagnostic pathway of prostatic neoplasms. However, the increase in incidence has not been mirrored by a similar reduction in mortality. Widespread PSA testing has facilitated the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of indolent disease. To reduce this phenomenon and avoid negative repercussions on the quality of life of men undergoing unnecessary therapies, the diagnostic pathway of prostate cancer needs to be improved. Multiparametric MRI (mp-MRI) can enhance the sensitivity and specificity of PSA, as well as the shortcomings of random biopsy sampling. This novel imaging technique has been proven to identify larger and more aggressive cancer foci, which should be targeted for treatment. New technological developments now allow for fusion of mp-MRI images with real-time ultrasound, opening the way to lesion-targeted biopsies. Furthermore, mp-MRI and targeted biopsies can also improve active surveillance protocols and permit more conservative focal therapy strategies. By implementing targeted biopsies, the diagnostic pathway will focus on clinically significant disease, consequently reducing overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Before this novel protocol becomes the new gold standard, mp-MRI acquisition and interpretation need to be standardized and targeted-biopsy strategies need to be further validated prior to abandoning random-sampling ones. Several multidisciplinary consortiums are already working on the standardization of prostate MRI, and there are ongoing prospective trials on targeted biopsies and MRI. Soon, imaging of prostatic lesions and selected biopsies will modify the diagnostic evaluation of prostate cancer, reducing overtreatment and therapy-derived complications that negatively affect quality of life.
Polascik, TJ; Passoni, NM; Villers, A; Choyke, PL
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