NICE approves multiparametric MRI for prostate cancer

NICE has recommended multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) as a first-line investigation for men with suspected clinically localised prostate cancer. Used alongside PSA testing the scanning technique will help identify cancers and prevent unnecessary prostate biopsies.

mpMRI can produce a detailed image of the prostate which can help determine whether a biopsy is needed. For those with low-risk cancer, this type of imaging can prevent unnecessary biopsies, which can be uncomfortable and are not without risk (particularly infection).

mpMRI is also being recommended as an option for men who are under active surveillance to monitor their early-stage cancer.

A number of centres already offer the MRI before biopsy but access to the technology is patchy and Prostate Cancer UK has been campaigning for uniform access across the country.

According to NICE, mpMRI is clinically cost effective as it will reduce the number of biopsies performed and cancers are more likely to be detected and identified earlier, thus reducing the need for later more expensive treatments. Evidence also shows that MRI-directed prostate biopsy may be more cost effective than undirected biopsy as it is quicker and is more efficient in identifying clinically significant cancer.

Paul Chrisp, Director for the NICE Centre for Guidelines, says: ‘This diagnostic pathway will hopefully improve survival, reduce unnecessary surgery and benefit both patients and the NHS in the long term’.

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