Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Prostate cancer monitoring scanner developed

  • Comment

An advanced type of body scan could help doctors decide when a man with slow-growing prostate cancer needs treatment.

Many men diagnosed with early prostate cancer that is not immediately life threatening undergo “active surveillance”.

Doctors monitor their condition with biopsies and blood tests and only start aggressive treatment if the tumour starts to grow more quickly.

The new technique, called diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), provides a more patient-friendly and reliable method of monitoring prostate cancer, scientists believe.

In the pilot study, 50 patients were scanned at the time of their initial diagnosis and given another examination two years later.

By the time of their follow-up appointment, 17 of the men had received required treatment while 33 remained under active surveillance.

The team found the diffusion-weighted readings fell between the two scans in men who progressed to treatment, but remained constant in those who did not.

Study leader Professor Nandita deSouza, from the Institute of Cancer Research, based in Sutton, Surrey, and London, said: “Diffusion-weighted MRI has a lot of potential for monitoring patients under active surveillance, as the scans clearly showed which men’s cancers were progressing.

“If the technique continues to show promise in larger-scale studies, it could one day save men under active surveillance from the discomfort and potential complications of regular biopsies.”

The findings are published in the British Journal of Radiology.

Recent figures show the proportion of men opting for active surveillance rose from zero to 39% between 2002 and 2006.

It has become more common since the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which looks at the cost-effectiveness of new drugs and procedures, allowed it to become a standard treatment option in 2008.

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.