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Urology. 1999 May;53(5):961-7.

Three-dimensional computer-simulated prostate models: lateral prostate biopsies increase the detection rate of prostate cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.



Urologists routinely use the systematic sextant needle biopsy technique to detect prostate cancer. However, recent evidence suggests that this technique has a significant sampling error. We developed a novel three-dimensional (3D) computer-assisted prostate biopsy simulator based on whole-mounted step-sectioned radical prostatectomy specimens to compare the diagnostic accuracy of various prostate needle biopsy protocols.


We obtained digital images of 201 step-sectioned whole-mounted radical prostatectomy specimens. 3D computer simulation software was developed to accurately depict the anatomy of the prostate and all individual tumor foci. Additional peripheral devices were incorporated into the system to perform interactive prostate biopsies. We obtained 18 biopsies of each prostate model to determine the detection rates of various biopsy protocols.


The 10- and 12-pattern biopsy protocols had a 99.0% detection rate; the traditional sextant biopsy protocol rate was only 72.6%. The 5-region biopsy protocol had a 90.5% detection rate and the 14-pattern, which includes all the biopsies used in the patterns above, only added 1 additional positive case (99.5%). Transitional zone and seminal vesicle biopsies did not result in a significantly increased detection rate when added to the patterns above. Only one positive model was obtained when the transitional zone biopsies were added. The lateral sextant pattern had a detection rate of 95.5%, and the 4-pattern lateral biopsy protocol had a 93.5% detection rate.


Our results suggest that all the biopsy protocols that use laterally placed biopsies based on the 5-region anatomic model are superior to the routinely used sextant prostate biopsy pattern. Lateral biopsies in the mid and apical zones of the gland are the most important.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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