New MRI analysis technique improves prostate cancer screening

A new study in Radiology found that a new method of MRI analysis can help predict just how severe prostate cancer may be, even before surgery allows for a physical look at the cancer.

Called Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System version 2 (PI-RADS 2), the program assigns a score one through five to a patient’s prostate cancer to help predict severity of the cancer. With a simplified process for scoring the cancer’s parameters compared to the original version, the PI-RADS version 2 is especially useful for clinically significant prostate cancer cases, defined as cancers with Gleason scores higher than 7, a tumor size of more than 0.5 cubic centimeters or one that had grown in specific ways.

The PI-RADS preoperative scores and findings were then compared to the postoperative manual findings of the prostate cancer to assess its accuracy. The study found that the PI-RADS score given to a specific case of prostate cancer was more accurate in predicting its clinical significance than any other single measurement the PI-RADS looks for.

Another benefit to the updated PI-RADS version, the study said, is that a dedicated software is not required to use the newer version. Even still, its ability to detect clinical significance and assign scores to certain measurements were not diminished compared to PI-RADS version 1. The new version might even be better at diagnosing significant cases of cancer based on some parameters, such as in cases with Gleason scores of more than 7.

 “With PIRADS score of 4 or greater as a threshold, the sensitivity and specificity of PI-RADS version 2 were 77.0% and 73.8% for reader 1 and 77.3% and 71.4% for reader 2, respectively,” the authors wrote.

The study took a retroactive look at PI-RADS readings of 425 patients between January 2012 and March 2013. About 90 percent of them had the clinical significance of their cancer confirmed by surgery after the MRI scans.

The authors pointed out that having a better, earlier and more accessible views of the clinical significance of prostate cancer can help improve treatment plans before surgery and that can even be taken into account while designing a surgery plan.