MRI-targeted, systematic, and combined biopsy for prostate cancer diagnosis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



New England Journal of Medicine








Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society. BACKGROUND The use of 12-core systematic prostate biopsy is associated with diagnostic inaccuracy that contributes to both overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of prostate cancer. Biopsies performed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) targeting may reduce the misclassification of prostate cancer in men with MRI-visible lesions. METHODS Men with MRI-visible prostate lesions underwent both MRI-targeted and systematic biopsy. The primary outcome was cancer detection according to grade group (i.e., a clustering of Gleason grades). Grade group 1 refers to clinically insignificant disease; grade group 2 or higher, cancer with favorable intermediate risk or worse; and grade group 3 or higher, cancer with unfavorable intermediate risk or worse. Among the men who underwent subsequent radical prostatectomy, upgrading and downgrading of grade group from biopsy to whole-mount histopathological analysis of surgical specimens were recorded. Secondary outcomes were the detection of cancers of grade group 2 or higher and grade group 3 or higher, cancer detection stratified by previous biopsy status, and grade reclassification between biopsy and radical prostatectomy. RESULTS A total of 2103 men underwent both biopsy methods; cancer was diagnosed in 1312 (62.4%) by a combination of the two methods (combined biopsy), and 404 (19.2%) underwent radical prostatectomy. Cancer detection rates on MRI-targeted biopsy were significantly lower than on systematic biopsy for grade group 1 cancers and significantly higher for grade groups 3 through 5 (P<0.01 for all comparisons). Combined biopsy led to cancer diagnoses in 208 more men (9.9%) than with either method alone and to upgrading to a higher grade group in 458 men (21.8%). However, if only MRI-target biopsies had been performed, 8.8% of clinically significant cancers (grade group ≥3) would have been misclassified. Among the 404 men who underwent subsequent radical prostatectomy, combined biopsy was associated with the fewest upgrades to grade group 3 or higher on histopathological analysis of surgical specimens (3.5%), as compared with MRI-targeted biopsy (8.7%) and systematic biopsy (16.8%). CONCLUSIONS Among patients with MRI-visible lesions, combined biopsy led to more detection of all prostate cancers. However, MRI-targeted biopsy alone underestimated the histologic grade of some tumors. After radical prostatectomy, upgrades to grade group 3 or higher on histopathological analysis were substantially lower after combined biopsy. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; Trio Study ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00102544.).

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