MR assists prostate cancer recurrence

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Using MR images for prostate cancer patients before they begin treatment to evaluate whether cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland capsule is useful in predicting whether the disease will come back, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists at the University of California-San Francisco.

Seventy-four men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer who underwent endorectal MR imaging of the prostate were evaluated for the study, said Antonio Westphalen, MD, lead author of the study. Various factors, including tumor size, stage and measurements as to whether cancer spread outside the prostate gland were all gathered.

“The study focused on patients who were treated with radiation therapy, more specifically, external beam radiation therapy, which is the treatment of choice of about one-third of patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer,” said Westphalen.

After 42 months, four patients developed metastases – all four had extracapsular extension seen on MR imaging before treatment.

“The main goal of our study was to identify features on our imaging that would predict treatment failure, perhaps allowing for a more conscientious decision ahead of time. We found that a subset of patients who presented with imaging signs of extracapsular extension prior to radiation were more likely to develop metastases in the future,” Westphalen added.

The full results of the study were presented at the recent American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.