Researchers to investigate screening for prostate cancer using MRI
A new clinical study will test for the first time if MRI scans can be used for population screening to detect prostate cancer more accurately. The current prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is considered too unreliable for population screening, and the scientists will study if MRI could be used to screen men to pick up cancers earlier and more reliably, and help save lives.
They will also study whether, combined with cutting-edge techniques such as genomics and machine learning, MRI scans can replace prostate biopsies. Prostate cancer patients advising the study say they are particularly excited by the prospect of large reduction in biopsies, as they have serious side effects in the majority of patients, which include pain, bleeding, infections leading to sepsis, and urine retention (sudden inability to empty the bladder).
The study is being launched with funding of £4.1m from the Medical Research Council and £1m from Cancer Research UK, as part of the MRC’s Stratified Medicine Initiative. The initiative is investing a total of £16.8m in four new ‘stratified medicine’ studies that aim to develop ground-breaking approaches in treating prostate cancer, kidney disease, alcoholic hepatitis and childhood arthritis.