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J Urol. 2001 May;165(5):1554-9.

Optimal combinations of systematic sextant and laterally directed biopsies for the detection of prostate cancer.

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  • 1Matsunaga-Conte Prostate Cancer Research Center, the Scott Department of Urology and Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.



The standard sextant protocol for obtaining transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy of the prostate has been shown to underestimate the presence of prostate cancer. Studies have demonstrated an increased cancer detection rate with additional laterally directed biopsies. We compared the sensitivity of individual biopsy cores and evaluated combinations of these cores to identify an optimal biopsy strategy.


A total of 396 consecutive patients underwent biopsy of the lateral peripheral zone in addition to standard sextant biopsy. The cancer detection rate for each biopsy core was calculated. The sensitivity of different combinations of biopsy cores was compared with those of standard sextant biopsies and with a 12 core biopsy protocol that combined the standard sextant biopsy with a complete set of laterally directed cores.


Cancer was detected in 160 of 396 (40.3%) patients. Of the possible combinations of biopsy cores a strategy that included laterally directed cores at the base, mid gland and apex of the prostate with mid lobar base and apical cores detected 98.5% of cancers. The detection rate of this 10 core biopsy regimen was significantly better than that of the standard sextant protocol (p < or =0.001), and was equivalent to that of the 12 core regional biopsy (p > or =0.302).


The standard sextant protocol failed to detect a large proportion of cancers located laterally in the peripheral zone. A 10 core biopsy regimen that combined laterally directed cores at the base, mid gland and apex of the prostate with mid lobar biopsy cores at the base and apex maximizes the sensitivity of transrectal ultrasound guided systematic biopsy.

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