Prostate biopsies that combine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology with ultrasound appear to give men better information regarding the seriousness of their cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

To test the effectiveness of MRI-targeted biopsy, researchers examined 1,003 men who were suspected of prostate cancer because of an abnormal blood screening or rectal exam.

The researchers performed both an MRI-targeted and a standard biopsy on all of the men, and then compared results.

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Both targeted and standard biopsy diagnosed a similar number of cancer cases, and 69 percent of the time both types of biopsy came to exact agreement regarding a patient’s risk of death due to prostate cancer.

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However, the two approaches differed in that targeted biopsy found 30 percent more high-risk cancers and 17 percent fewer low-risk cancers.

These results indicate that MRI-targeted biopsy is “a better way of biopsy that finds the aggressive tumors that need to be treated but also not finding those small microscopic low-grade tumors that are not clinically important but lead to overtreatment,” senior author Peter Pinto, M.D., head of the prostate cancer section at the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Md., told HealthDay.


  1. Siddiqui, M. Minhaj, MD, et al. “Comparison of MR/Ultrasound Fusion-Guided Biopsy With Ultrasound-Guided Biopsy for the Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17942.. January 27, 2015.