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Prostate. 1997 Feb 1;30(2):130-5.

Frequency and clinical significance of transition zone cancer in prostate cancer screening.

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Department of Urology, University of Innsbruck, Austria.


Approximately 20% of prostate cancers originate in the transition zone (TZ). Although transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) and systematic biopsies have improved peripheral zone (PZ) cancer diagnosis, additional biopsies directed into the TZ may further improve cancer detection. To evaluate the frequency and clinical significance of TZ cancers, we added two TZ biopsies to the routinely performed sextant biopsies. Three hundred forty patients (aged 45-75) from our prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening study (21,078 volunteers) with negative rectal examination findings underwent systematic and TZ biopsies with three-dimensional ultrasound equipment. All patients had elevated PSA levels according to age-specific reference ranges. Ninety-eight of 340 men (28.5%) had biopsies positive for cancer. Of these 98 cancers, 28 (28%) originated in the TZ only and 5 (5%) were located in the TZ as well as the PZ. Eight men showed TZ abnormalities on ultrasound images, of whom four had biopsies positive for TZ cancer. The TZ cancers detected were pathologically significant in 96% (27 of 28). Seventy-one percent (20 of 28) of pathologically staged cancers were found to be organ confined and all combined TZ and PZ cancers were advanced tumors. We conclude that TZ biopsies enhance the cancer detection rate in prostate cancer screening and should therefore be added to the routinely done sextant biopsies in men with PSA elevation and normal digital rectal examination findings.

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