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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1994 Apr;162(4):865-72.

MR imaging and sonography of early prostatic cancer: pathologic and imaging features that influence identification and diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0030.



The purpose of this study was to correlate findings at MR imaging and transrectal sonography with histopathologic findings after surgery in patients with prostatic cancer, to identify the pathologic characteristics of prostatic cancer that improved detection with MR imaging and transrectal sonography, and to identify the imaging characteristics that correlated with detection of true cancers.


Data from MR imaging in 320 patients and from transrectal sonography in 343 patients who were enrolled in the Radiological Diagnostic Oncology Group multiinstitutional study of imaging in prostatic cancer were correlated with results of radical prostatectomy. Only cancers 5 mm or greater in at least one dimension were evaluated pathologically. The locations of lesions and the linear dimensions and volumes of individual lesions and the prostate gland were evaluated pathologically and with imaging studies. The appearance of lesion margins on images and the degree of differentiation of lesions seen on pathologic examination were also studied. Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed to determine the pathologic findings associated with imaging detection and the imaging characteristics associated with prostatic cancer.


MR imaging and transrectal sonography showed 62% and 64% of cancers, respectively, each with a positive predictive value of 68%. Cancers that were larger, moderately or poorly differentiated, or located in the posterior half of the outer gland were easier to detect (p < .0001). The overall size of the prostate did not effect lesion detection. However, abnormalities identified in the posterior half of the outer gland were more likely to be cancers. On transrectal sonograms, larger abnormalities also were more likely to be malignant tumors. The sharpness of the margins of the imaged abnormalities did not predict pathologic status.


Detection of prostatic cancer with MR imaging or transrectal sonography is affected by cancer size, differentiation, and location; the odds of an imaged lesion's being malignant are related to location and, for transrectal sonography, size. Knowledge of anatomic/pathologic features that enhance lesion detection may help when using imaging tests to detect prostatic carcinoma. That certain imaging characteristics of lesions are associated with true cancers may assist in the interpretation of MR images and transrectal sonograms of the prostate.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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