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Targeted Prostate Cancer Biopsies Might Improve Care: Study
Date:12/10/2012

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A new, highly targeted form of biopsy could be an advance in prostate cancer care, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, say prostate tumors can be diagnosed using "image-guided targeted biopsy" -- the direct sampling of tumors in tissue using both MRI and real-time ultrasound.

The UCLA team say this targeted form of biopsy is much more accurate than conventional "blind" biopsies that do not enable doctors to actually see the tumors. They suggested the new procedure may improve early detection of prostate cancer and result in fewer biopsies overall.

"Early prostate cancer is difficult to image because of the limited contrast between normal and malignant tissues within the prostate," study senior author Dr. Leonard Marks, a professor of urology and director of the UCLA Active Surveillance Program, said in a university news release. "Conventional biopsies are basically performed blindly, because we can't see what we're aiming for. Now, with this new method we have the potential to see the prostate cancer and aim for it in a much more refined and rational manner."

Almost all of the 1 million prostate biopsies performed in the United States every year are performed after a man tests positive for elevated blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which can indicate prostate cancer.

One expert not connected to the new study said current biopsy methods have their pros and cons.

"Currently, the diagnosis of prostate cancer occurs through a transrectal ultrasound guided prostate biopsy," said Dr. Warren Bromberg, chief of urology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

"The advantage of this procedure is that it can be performed with local anesthesia in a urologist's office in less than 10 minutes," he said. "The problem with this method is that approximately 75 percent of men have negative biopsies [and]
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