A group of researchers in two Medical schools, namely the school of Medicine of the University of California San Diego and the school of Medicine of the University of California Los Angeles, conducted a pilot clinical study in order to evaluate a recently developed new type of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) imaging test, which constitutes the current method of detecting prostate cancer.
The doctors involved in the study have developed an improved type of MRI called restriction spectrum imaging (RSI-MRI). Twenty patients in total, diagnosed with prostate cancer, were scanned by the doctors using the new technique before proceeding to the surgical procedure of radical prostatectomy.
The researchers compared the two scanning methods and they found that the new technique is more accurate in detecting tumours as well as in detecting extraprostatic extension of the disease.
In the MRI technique, doctors use a substance, which is injected to the patient before scanning, in order for the blood flow to be highlighted and appear in the scanner. The innovation of the new technique lies in the fact that it concentrates the water diffusion in the tissues rather than in the blood flow. Thus, as the authors of the study mention, the new technique is better in spotting the exact tumour’s location as well as the tumour’s size.
The results of the study have proved the efficacy of the new imaging technique. In fact, MRI correctly identified extraprostatic extension in two out of nine (22%) patients, whereas RSI-MRI identified extraprostatic extension in eight out of nine (89%) patients. RSI-MRI correctly identified pT2 disease in the remaining 18 patients.
Given the fact that the percentage of prostate cancer deaths is extremely high worldwide, doctors hope that through this new technique prostate cancer will be more easily and accurately detected before spreading to other body parts. Furthermore, the new technique will make the diagnosis of prostate cancer faster and its treatment more effective.