Progress in the diagnosis of prostate cancer: combined procedures increase accuracy

HEIDELBERG, Germany, November 20, 2012 -- With a specific combination of two ultra-modern imaging procedures, the Heidelberg Clinic for Prostate Therapy is now able to diagnose cancer of the prostate extremely accurately, non-invasively and with the minimum number of tissue removal procedures (biopsies).

The Heidelberg Clinic for Prostate Therapy has specialised in the non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of prostate conditions for almost twenty years. This includes both benign changes and carcinosis such as prostate carcinoma (PCa). A prostate carcinoma is certainly difficult to detect, as it is very small in the early stages and difficult to palpate in early cancer diagnosis. Even a blood test that confirms the presence of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA value) provides no guarantee, but is at best an indication of carcinosis. Additional examinations such as elastography and the PCA3 test should be carried out to confirm that cancer is suspected before a biopsy is performed. However, this standard form of tissue removal has a major disadvantage: in many cases it is governed by chance and many tumours remain undetected. “If a biopsy really is appropriate, then it must be performed correctly and limited to as few incisions as possible,” is the opinion of Dr Thomas Dill who, together with Dr Martin Loehr, runs the Heidelberg Clinic for Prostate Therapy. To achieve this, the Heidelberg-based urologists combine high-precision images of the prostate taken using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound images. In this way, the tumours can be located clearly. The Heidelberg-based specialists then use a millimetre-accurate grid known as a template. This is attached securely to the operating table and becomes the guide template for the biopsy needle. Suspect tissue can be accessed accurately and removed. And what is the advantage of the new diagnostic procedure? “For a start, you must understand how a biopsy is normally performed. Generally speaking, between ten and twelve randomly distributed tissue samples are extracted through the rectum from the prostate, by means of a blind procedure,” criticises Dr Martin Loeöhr. The accuracy rate for a prostate carcinoma is at most 30 percent, meaning that many patients subsequently require repeat biopsies before the tumour is discovered. The main advantage of the combination procedure is that the combination of information from the magnetic resonance tomography and the ultrasound can target conspicuous groupings very precisely. Internal investigation when cancer is suspected has shown a detection rate of around 90 percent. Extracting samples through the rectum also involves an increased risk of transferring germs from the rectum into the prostate. The Heidelberg-based urologists also warn that blood poisoning, should it occur, can even result in loss of life. They don’t perform biopsies through the rectum, but rather through an area of skin at the perineum, which can be sterilised properly prior to the biopsy.

Only when the results are positive does treatment commence, which at the Heidelberger Clinic for Prostate Therapy involves high-intensity and focused ultrasound treatment based on the HIFU/Sonablate procedure. “Non-invasive treatment and precise, non-invasive diagnostics go hand in hand,” says Dr Thomas Dill. Treatment can thus be restricted to those areas in which the presence of tumour cells has been confirmed. Tumour-free areas can be spared so that the functions of the prostate may be preserved.

Clinic contact data:

Klinik für Prostata-Therapie GmbH im :medZ
Bergheimer Straße 56a
D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone +496221 / 65085-0
Fax +496221 / 65085-11


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