According to a new study, a 10-minute MRI scan could be used to screen men for prostate cancer. The scans demonstrated significantly higher accuracy in diagnosing cancer compared to blood tests that rely on finding high levels of a protein known as PSA.
MRI technology successfully identified several serious cancers that would have gone undetected by relying solely on PSA levels.
Currently, a comprehensive national screening program is lacking as PSA is considered too unreliable.
The researchers behind this recent study propose that prostate MRI could be used for screening.
The Reimagine study, recently published in BMJ Oncology, engaged men aged 50 to 75 in London, inviting them to undergo screening involving MRI and PSA tests, which were conducted at University College Hospital.
Out of the 303 participants who underwent both the MRI and PSA tests, 48 exhibited positive MRI results indicating the presence of cancer. Following further tests, including biopsies, 25 of these cases were diagnosed with significant cancer.
Over half of the men whose cancer was detected through MRI exhibited low PSA test scores below 3ng/ml—considered within the normal range. Consequently, these individuals might have been falsely reassured they were free of cancer.
Professor Caroline Moore, a consultant urologist at UCLH and the chief investigator of the study at University College London, remarked, "Our results give an early indication that MRI could offer a more reliable method of detecting potentially serious cancers early, with the added benefit that less than 1% of participants were 'over-diagnosed' with low-risk disease”.
Overall, the prostate cancer mortality rate in the UK is double that of countries such as the U.S. or Spain, primarily due to our lower levels of testing.
Professor Mark Emberton, the senior author of the study, expressed his confidence regarding the potential implementation of a screening program, stating, “the establishment of a nationwide screening program will lead to a significant reduction in prostate cancer mortality rates within the UK".
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