A new magnetic resonance imaging technique of restriction spectrum (RSI-MRI) may be significantly better than the currently used diffusion MRI technique for detecting and treating prostate cancer.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have found that this improved MRI technique has the potential to provide more precise and effective treatment for prostate cancer.

The imaging technique has been found to improve upon standard MRI to obtain a clearer picture of the extent of the tumor and its exact location.1

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“The theory behind RSI-MRI is that we are able to better differentiate the cancer cells from the surrounding cells. Current diffusion MRI techniques are confounded by surrounding edema, necrosis, and imaging artifacts. Our results have demonstrated that RSI improves localization of cancer, and focuses on the signal from cancer cells. This will likely improve targeting of radiation and biopsies, as we can more precisely localize the tumor and its extent,” said lead study author Rebecca Rakow-Penner, MD, PhD, of UCSD in San Diego, California.

Dr. Rakow-Penner and her colleagues compared the efficacy of RSI-MRI with standard MRI for detecting extraprostatic extension (EPE) among 28 men who underwent MRI and RSI-MRI prior to radical prostatectomy. Among the 28 patients, 10 had histologically proven pT3 disease.

The researchers found that among the 27 evaluable patients, preoperative standard MRI correctly identified EPE in 2 of the 9 pT3 patients (22%). However, RSI-MRI identified EPE in 8 out of 9 patients (89%).

The study also showed that RSI-MRI correctly identified pT2 disease in the remaining 18 patients.

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“If we are able to confirm these RSI prostate results on a larger population this may make doctors and patients more comfortable with careful imaging surveillance for low grade tumors rather than prostatectomy,” Dr. Rakow-Penner told Cancer Therapy Advisor.

“On the other hand, for men with aggressive local disease our results have shown that RSI will help evaluate local spread of the disease. This will help guide surgical planning in determining if nerve sparing or more aggressive surgery is required.”

RSI-MRI has been evaluated in 12 patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas. The technique was used at baseline and following initiation of bevacizumab and researchers found it may confer an advantage in interpreting tumor response following antiangiogenic therapy.2