New state-of-the-art prostate biopsies are now offered at Musgrove Park Hospital as part of a national study (PROMIS) being run by University College London (UCL).
The study is looking at how useful a new type of MRI scan called multi parametric (MP) MRI is to diagnose prostate cancer.
Currently patients who have a raised PSA blood test result (high levels of this protein are associated with an increased risk of having prostate cancer) undergo an intrusive transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy, where a needle is inserted through the rectum. The technique carries risks of bleeding and infection and TRUS biopsies can fail to determine the grade of the prostate cancer. In up to 30% of cases, the procedure can miss it all together.
The clinical study will investigate whether a MP MRI – a high definition MRI scan – can show doctors which men could safely avoid having a TRUS biopsy. The study also aims to find out if the scan can help doctors to carry out more accurate template prostate biopsies, if needed.
Consultant Urological Surgeon, Mr Nick Burns-Cox, who is leading the trial at Musgrove, said: “This is a really exciting trial as it will investigate whether this new technique for scanning the prostate can replace TRUS guided biopsies, therefore reducing the risks of discomfort, infection and bleeding in some men with a raised PSA blood test by using this new technique instead.
“Musgrove has funded, through its charitable fund, Love Musgrove, a new high resolution ultrasound machine. In addition to this, the team has undergone training at UCL and at Musgrove Park in MRI scanning and in the technique of template prostate biopsies. This training means we are able to use these techniques safely and consistently. We are really pleased to be part of this study as the findings may bring real benefits to our patients.”
If the high definition MRI scan finds that a patient needs a biopsy then the machine has the capabilities to carry out a template biopsy. Although a general anaesthetic is required, this is believed to be more beneficial for patients as it ensures greater diagnostic accuracy because a sample is taken every 5mm within the prostate. It also reduces the risk of infection or bleeding.
Mr Burns-Cox said: “We are the first hospital in the area to offer patients the opportunity to be in this study. I think there is a high probability the results will radically change the way we manage patients with an increased risk of prostate cancer by improving diagnostic accuracy and patient safety.”