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Radiology. 2010 Jul;256(1):176-83. doi: 10.1148/radiol.10091147. Epub 2010 May 26.

Prostate cancer managed with active surveillance: role of anatomic MR imaging and MR spectroscopic imaging.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif, USA.



To determine the role that magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopic imaging findings obtained at the time of diagnosis play in the progression of disease in patients whose prostate cancer is being managed with active surveillance and to compare the role of these findings with the role of transrectal ultrasonography (US) findings.


The institutional review board approved this HIPAA-compliant retrospective study, and informed consent was obtained from all patients whose records were to be entered into the research database. All patients who had prostate cancer managed with active surveillance and who had undergone both MR imaging and MR spectroscopic imaging of the prostate and transrectal US at time of diagnosis were identified. Two urologists blinded to the clinical outcome in these patients independently reviewed and dichotomized the MR imaging report and the MR spectroscopic imaging report as normal or suggestive of malignancy. One experienced urologist performed all US examinations that were then dichotomized similarly. Uni- and multivariate (with use of standard clinical variables) Cox models were fitted to assess time to cancer progression, defined as Gleason score upgrading, prostate-specific antigen velocity of more than 0.75 (microg x L(-1))/y, or initiation of treatment more than 6 months after diagnosis.


The final cohort included 114 patients with a median follow-up of 59 months. Patients with a lesion that was suggestive of cancer at MR imaging had a greater risk of the Gleason score being upgraded at subsequent biopsy (hazard ratio, 4.0; 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 14.9) than did patients without such a lesion. Neither MR spectroscopic imaging nor transrectal US could be used to predict cancer progression.


Abnormal prostate MR imaging results suggestive of cancer may confer an increased risk of Gleason score upgrade at subsequent biopsy. Although expensive, prostate MR imaging may help in counseling potential candidates about active surveillance.

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