Prostate MRI Can Reduce Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment of Prostate Cancer

Andrew B. Rosenkrantz, Samir S. Taneja

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The contemporary management of prostate cancer (PCa) has been criticized as fostering overdetection and overtreatment of indolent disease. In particular, the historical inability to identify those men with an elevated PSA who truly warrant biopsy, and, for those needing biopsy, to localize aggressive tumors within the prostate, has contributed to suboptimal diagnosis and treatment strategies. This article describes how modern multi-parametric MRI of the prostate addresses such challenges and reduces both overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The central role of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in contributing to MRI's current impact is described. Prostate MRI incorporating DWI achieves higher sensitivity than standard systematic biopsy for intermediate-to-high risk tumor, while having lower sensitivity for low-grade tumors that are unlikely to impact longevity. Particular applications of prostate MRI that are explored include selection of a subset of men with clinical suspicion of PCa to undergo biopsy as well as reliable confirmation of only low-risk disease in active surveillance patients. Various challenges to redefining the standard of care to incorporate solely MRI-targeted cores, without concomitant standard systematic cores, are identified. These include needs for further technical optimization of current systems for performing MRI-targeted biopsies, enhanced education and expertise in prostate MRI among radiologists, greater standardization in prostate MRI reporting across centers, and recognition of the roles of pre-biopsy MRI and MRI-targeted biopsy by payers. Ultimately, it is hoped that the medical community in the United States will embrace prostate MRI and MRI-targeted biopsy, allowing all patients with known or suspected prostate cancer to benefit from this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1000-1006
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Active surveillance
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Overdiagonsis
  • Overtreatment
  • Prostate MRI
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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