Breakthrough study makes diagnoses less invasive

Dr Laurence Klotz

Anyone who has had a biopsy to test for prostate cancer can tell you it’s an invasive and uncomfortable process.

But thanks to a new CCS-funded clinical trial*, made possible with your support, all of that is about to change. A team of researchers, led by Dr Laurence Klotz, showed that diagnosing prostate cancer can both more accurate and less intrusive.

Currently, prostate cancer diagnosis relies on ultrasound-guided biopsies that look for and assess tumours. In addition to being intrusive, they can lead to the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of extremely low risk, or clinically insignificant, prostate cancer.

Dr Klotz and his team found that using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to look for prostate cancer and then guide the biopsy is just as effective in diagnosing prostate cancer — and has a host of advantages.

In the study, more than 1 in 3 participants who received an MRI avoided biopsies altogether because the MRI scan did not detect cancer. For people in whom the MRI did detect cancer, MRI more precisely pinpointed the location of the tumour so fewer biopsies were needed. This approach also reduced the diagnosis of clinically insignificant prostate cancer by half.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled about these results that show, without a doubt, that imaging and targeted biopsies are the future of prostate cancer diagnosis,” says Dr Klotz.

“We can identify and target the cancers we should be treating, avoid finding insignificant cancers and therefore reduce anxiety and the risk of overtreatment, and improve the quality of life for our patients. We really owe a debt to the 453 patients who participated in the study, and to the team of investigators and funders who supported it.”

Thank you for your support. These groundbreaking study results will have a significant and positive impact on the roughly 64 Canadians who are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day.


*This trial was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society with funds provided by Movember and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.