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Eur Urol. 2001 Sep;40(3):285-93.

Microvessel density: correlation between contrast ultrasonography and histology of prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Increased microvessel density (MVD) of prostate cancer seems to be associated with poor prognosis and higher stage. Assessment of MVD using noninvasive methods could be of use in the work-up of patients with prostate cancer. The aim of the present study was to correlate three-dimensional contrast-enhanced power Doppler ultrasound (3D-CE-PDU) findings with MVD characteristics of radical prostatectomy specimens.


Seven patients with biopsy-proven prostate cancer had 3D-CE-PDU investigations 2-3 weeks after prostate biopsies were taken and prior to radical prostatectomy. The investigations were performed using Levovist contrast agent (Schering AG, Berlin, Germany) in combination with a Voluson 530D ultrasound scanner (Kretz AG, Zipf, Austria). The 7 patients were selected because of lateralization of the contrast enhancement. Histology slides were made of the side with 'contrast enhancement' and of the contralateral 'unenhanced' side and stained according to the catalyzed reporter deposition (CARD) amplification procedure, and MVD parameters were obtained.


In all patients the MVD count of the 'enhanced' side was higher than the MVD count of the 'unenhanced' side, averaging 1.93 times higher. On histology all enhanced lesions proved to contain prostate cancer tissue (average maximum diameter 25 mm (range 17-31)). Two patients had a small bilateral tumor lesion (4 and 5 mm respectively) and in total 5 patients had even smaller satellite lesions (1-2 mm). The smaller lesions were not identified using 3D-CE-PDU.


The present study shows that 3D power Doppler contrast ultrasonography is a minimally invasive imaging modality, which has the potential to visualize lesions with increased MVD. This property of 3D-CE-PDU could be used in the detection of prostate cancer.

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