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Radiology. 2005 Aug;236(2):545-53. Epub 2005 Jun 21.

Prostate cancer: correlation of MR imaging and MR spectroscopy with pathologic findings after radiation therapy-initial experience.

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Department of Radiology, Medical Physics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Urology, Pathology, and Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10021, USA.



To prospectively evaluate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy for depiction of local prostate cancer recurrence after external-beam radiation therapy, with step-section pathologic findings as the standard of reference.


Study received institutional approval, and written informed consent was obtained. Study was compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Sextant biopsy, digital rectal examination, MR imaging, MR spectroscopy, and salvage radical prostatectomy with step-section pathologic examination were performed in nine patients with increasing prostate-specific antigen levels after external-beam radiation therapy. MR imaging criterion for tumor was a focal nodular region of reduced signal intensity at T2-weighted imaging. MR spectroscopic criteria for tumor were voxels with choline (Cho) plus creatine (Cr) to citrate (Cit) ratio ([Cho + Cr]/Cit) of at least 0.5 or voxels with detectable Cho and no Cit in the peripheral zone. Sensitivity and specificity of sextant biopsy, digital rectal examination, MR imaging, and MR spectroscopy were determined by using a prostate sextant as the unit of analysis. For feature analysis, MR imaging and MR spectroscopic findings were correlated with step-section pathologic findings.


MR imaging and MR spectroscopy showed estimated sensitivities of 68% and 77%, respectively, while sensitivities of biopsy and digital rectal examination were 48% and 16%, respectively. MR spectroscopy appears to be less specific (78%) than the other three tests, each of which had a specificity higher than 90%. MR spectroscopic feature analysis showed that a metabolically altered benign gland could be falsely identified as tumor by using MR spectroscopic criteria; further analysis of MR spectroscopic features did not lead to improved MR spectroscopic criteria for recurrent tumor.


In summary, MR imaging and MR spectroscopy may be more sensitive than sextant biopsy and digital rectal examination for sextant localization of cancer recurrence after external-beam radiation therapy.

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