Improving non-invasive detection of prostate cancer using diffusion-weighted MRI

Michelle Leech, John Gaffney, Laure Marignol


Prostate cancer represents 11% of all cancers in the European Union and 9% of all cancer deaths. Standard MRI for prostate cancer includes high-resolution T2-weighted images, which allow for the assessment of the prostate and the tumour, as tumours arising from the peripheral zone appear dark compared to the expected normally bright peripheral gland tissue. Over the past number of years, the application of diffusion-weighted MRI (DW-MRI) has progressed to include both diagnostic and prognostic roles in oncology. DW-MRI images should be analysed together with the T2-weighted images and the corresponding apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps. We searched PubMed, Cochrane, and Science Direct for relevant journal articles and reviews published up until April 2015 using the search terms “functional MRI” OR “multiparametric MRI” OR “MRSI” AND “diagnosis” AND “prostate cancer” OR “prostate”. The literature indicates that DW-MRI is an important parameter in the identification of prostate cancer. It has the ability to improve sensitivity and specificity, relative to T2-weighted images alone, and has been demonstrated to correlate with tumour grade.


Prostate cancer detection; diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging

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