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Radiology. 1988 Aug;168(2):389-94.

Prostate cancer: comparison of transrectal US and digital rectal examination for screening.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.


The authors examined 784 self-referred men over age 60 years to compare clinical usefulness of transrectal ultrasound (US) and digital rectal examination in a screening program for prostate cancer. Biopsy was performed in 77 cases, 83% (64 of 77) for abnormalities detected with transrectal US and 38% (29 of 77) because of findings at digital examination. Twenty-two cancers were detected, 20 with transrectal US and ten at digital examination. Overall detection rate for prostate cancer with transrectal US was two times higher than that with digital examination (2.6% vs 1.3%). Sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive value for transrectal US and digital examination were calculated for a range of prevalences (0.028-0.1543). Sensitivity was two times higher for transrectal US than for digital examination. Transrectal US demonstrated 100% (17 of 17) of tumors with the most favorable prognosis (less than or equal to 1.5 cm in diameter) compared with 41% (seven of 17) for digital examination. The authors conclude that transrectal US is more sensitive than digital examination in the detection of prostate cancer, and they advocate broader implementation and evaluation of transrectal US as a tool for early detection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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