Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 870-873

Targeted prostate biopsy using magnetic resonance imaging-ultrasound fusion

Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Date of Web Publication19-Aug-2015

Correspondence Address:
Leonard S Marks
Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.151389

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Bockholt N, Marks LS. Targeted prostate biopsy using magnetic resonance imaging-ultrasound fusion. Asian J Androl 2015;17:870-3

How to cite this URL:
Bockholt N, Marks LS. Targeted prostate biopsy using magnetic resonance imaging-ultrasound fusion. Asian J Androl [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Dec 4];17:870-3. Available from:

FNx01This article is based on a presentation delivered on the International Prostate Forum at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, Orlando, FL, USA, May 18, 2014

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men worldwide, with an estimated 1.1 million new diagnoses and over 300,000 deaths reported in 2012 by the World Health Organization. A recent 5-year prevalence of the disease was nearly four million, far exceeding all other malignancies in men. [1] Because of these numbers, efforts to improve early detection, accurate assessment of disease burden, and appropriate treatment options are important public-health priorities. However, the basic tool for diagnosis, transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy, is flawed by failure to detect many serious cancers (>30% false negative rate) [2],[3] and over-detection of nonserious cancers. Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) of the prostate empowers the clinician to identify tumors that would otherwise be missed by conventional techniques and to record the precise locations of positive cores through targeted biopsy using MRI-ultrasound (MRI-US) fusion. As mpMRI advances and the level of experience for the user grows, the correlation between the level of suspicion for a prostate lesion and the MRI-US fusion targeted biopsy revealing malignancy improves. Consequently, the concordance among the targeted biopsy and surgical pathology rises. This in turn, allows the patient and provider to be confident that the therapeutic plan decided upon is representative of the true disease state.

  Technique Top

Various predictive tools and tests have been utilized to help urologists counsel patients regarding the need for a prostate biopsy, as well as the potential aggressiveness of their disease. Renditions of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that help counsel a patient on forgoing or obtaining a biopsy include PSA density, PSA velocity, Free PSA %, and Prostate Health Index. Lately, genetic testing has emerged as an additional option in the urologist's armamentarium. Hologic's Prostate Cancer Gene 3, Myriad Genetic's Prolaris and Genomic Health's Oncotype Dx are genetic tests that examine the urine or prostate biopsy tissue to help delineate the potential aggressiveness of the disease. Technology has also paved the way for improved prostate imaging with the hope of defining benign or malignant changes in patients undergoing prostate cancer screening and to track the areas of concern over time. Techniques have included variations of US, computed tomography, MRI, as well as positron emission tomography imaging. [4] Regardless of imaging choice, the goal is to extend beyond the limitations of blind biopsy for those at risk, by detecting more clinically relevant cancers, identifying the location of these cancers, decreasing patient morbidity, and aiding in the development of a safe and effective treatment plan.

Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging has become the imaging of choice by many practitioners including the urologic surgeon since the advent of the 0.35 T magnet. [5] Now, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE), and spectroscopic imaging have supplemented the simple T2-weighted imaging (T2-WI) to improve cancer detection as well as staging. [6] mpMRI compared to standard 12 core biopsy has been shown to increase the number of positive cores, men diagnosed with more than 1 core, and proportion of men diagnosed with clinically relevant prostate cancer. [7] Preoperative/preprocedural counseling, active surveillance (AS) monitoring, and intraoperative planning rely on the capability of mpMRI. However, biopsy remains the gold standard at diagnosing prostate cancer despite available imaging, blood and genetic testing. It is up to the provider how the tissue is obtained and how mpMRI can be incorporated into this process.

Three different methods have been described in order to perform a targeted prostate biopsy by fusing MRI: MRI-MRI fusion (also called in-bore biopsy) and MRI-US fusion which includes both device and cognitive fusion. In-bore biopsy implies the patient is physically in the MRI tube obtaining his biopsy. Despite the accuracy of utilizing real-time MRI to place the needles into the areas of concern, this method can be time-consuming as well as expensive since an additional MRI is needed at the time of biopsy. Often, systematic biopsies are avoided while only areas of concern are biopsied. [8] Although the negative predictive value for excluding Gleason grade (GG) ≥7 tumors approaches 100% in some studies, true systematic biopsies are still essential to identify smaller and lower grade tumors. [9],[10] Cognitive fusion is performed by simply reviewing the location of suspicious lesions on MRI and targeting them under US. This does not enable biopsy core mapping or three-dimensional reconstruction. As an alternative, the MRI of the prostate can be stored in a device then fused with real-time US creating a three-dimensional model of the prostate permitting the aiming and tracking of core sites. [8] Device fusion generates a single image from multiple images generated by a 3T transabdominal multiparametric T2-WI, DWI, and DCE MRI with a biplanar US, improving the selection of worrisome lesions as well as ensuring an adequate systematic biopsy ([Figure 1]). A prospective trial, though small in sample size, showed similar cancer detection rates between cognitive and device fusion target biopsy, but there remains concerns of the intraoperative user being capable of targeting small lesions without the tracking capability and digital overlay. [11]
Figure 1: Targeted biopsy of the prostate using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI-US) fusion. Multiparametric MRI was performed including T2-weighted imaging, diffusion-weighted imaging, and dynamic contrast-enhanced to identify suspicious areas. The MRI can be stored in a device like Eigen's Artemis, then fused with real-time US creating a three-dimensional model allowing for biopsy mapping and tracking.

Click here to view

  Comment Top

Controversy still exists when it comes to the treatment of localized prostate cancer. With the results of the Prostate Cancer Intervention versus Observation Trial demonstrating no overall benefit in prostate cancer-specific survival for patients who underwent radical prostatectomy compared to those who were simply observed, treatment of prostate cancer has been extensively questioned. Of note, over 65% of these patients had low-risk disease and patients were followed for almost 12 years. [12] Conversely, the survival advantage was clearly seen in patients under 65 years old who had intermediate-risk disease as shown in the Bill-Axelson "Radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting in early prostate cancer" paper. Now, the follow-up was over 23 years with an ever increasing benefit of treatment seen the longer patients were followed as supported by the difference in overall survival outcomes between 2011 and 2014 publications. [13] Granted, these patients were not diagnosed with targeted biopsies, but it does emphasize the importance of adequate grading, staging, and follow-up. As definitive treatment for low-risk prostate cancer falls out of favor as supported by recent literature, AS becomes a viable option for these patients. But, the provider as well as the patient, need to be confident that the grade and stage of prostate cancer are accurate when enrolling in an AS program. Over 100 men with low-risk prostate cancer according to Epstein criteria underwent an mpMRI guided targeted biopsy using the Artemis device (Eigen, Grass Valley, California, USA) after being enrolled in AS at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Areas of suspicion on mpMRI-US fusion were graded by suspicion level and biopsied at 3 mm intervals. Patients also underwent 12 systematic cores which were tracked and mapped. Initial targeted biopsy resulted in reclassification of 36% of men, including 23% due to GG 6 or greater and 13% due to high volume Gleason 6 disease further supporting the importance of properly selecting patients for AS and identifying the ones that could benefit from definitive therapy. [14]

As many men are reclassified after their initial targeted biopsy, there are patients who have fallen victim to previous negative biopsies despite harboring clinically relevant disease. Over a 5-year period, 1097 targeted including 12 core systematic mapping biopsies were performed in 839 men using the Artemis device at UCLA. Intermediate-high grade cancers GG ≥ 7 were diagnosed in 159 patients (19%). 91 (10.8%) underwent their first biopsy but for 43 (5.1%) and 25 (3.0%) patients, they had underwent 1-2 or ≥3 biopsies. Many of these patients go on to receive definitive treatment. But, for those who are found to have low-risk disease or confirmed to have only low-risk disease by their targeted biopsies, the patients and physician can be confident when selecting AS versus definitive treatment.

Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging has evolved over the last 30 years along with the various treatment options for prostate cancer. The addition of DWI and DCE has improved the accuracy of detecting extracapsular extension and seminal vesical invasion. [15],[16] Often times, mpMRI is used for preoperative consultation, but intraoperative decision-making can be influenced as well. The use of mpMRI for intraoperatively planning during robotic assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy has helped decrease positive surgical margins and improve preservation of the neurovascular bundles compared to the clinical parameters alone. [17] As technology changes and clinicians become more accustomed to a particular procedure or a certain image modality, accuracy, and outcomes will improve. This pertains to reviewing the mpMRIs. Over a 5-year period, 1356 targeted biopsies were performed on 707 men. The radiologist uses a combination of T2-WI, DCE, and DWI to create a score that signifies the overall level of suspicion for a lesion; 1-5, with 1 being normal and 5 representing a very highly suspicious lesion. For a target lesion with an overall suspicion level of 3, roughly 80% of the targeted biopsies were negative, 11% were GG 6, and 9% were GG ≥7. Now for an overall level of suspicion of 4, the biopsies that were negative, GG 6, or GG ≥7 were 60%, 15%, and 25%, respectively. To no surprise, an overall level of suspicion of 5 results in a 20% chance of a negative biopsy, while finding GG 6 and GG ≥7 is 15% and 65% ([Figure 2]a) . Compare these results with a more recent 6-month period during which, 187 targets were biopsied in 147 men. For an overall suspicion level of 3, 4, and 5, the probability of having a negative biopsy, GG 6, or GG ≥7 is 65%, 15%, 20% compared to 30%, 20%, 50%, and finally 5%, 0%, and 95%, respectively ([Figure 2]b) . In a relatively short amount of time, the likelihood of a very high suspicious lesion yielding intermediate- to high-risk disease improved 30%, stressing the importance of continuity and consistency within the entire urologic care team.

There are a number of benefits mpMRI offers when caring for the patient whose cancer is suspected or who has already had a diagnosis. But, there certainly are limitations underscoring the need for a true systematic mapping biopsy. When there are no areas of interest on mpMRI and targeted biopsy is not feasible, a systematic mapping biopsy can still be performed using the Artemis (Eigen, Grass Valley, California, USA). The limitations of the traditional systematic 12 core biopsy include under-detection as well as poor correlation with the prostatectomy specimen. The labeled biopsy location often differs from the tumor location on final pathology supporting the fact that US alone is unreliable. [18] Furthermore, a negative MRI does not eliminate the possibility of clinically relevant disease despite other publications claiming high negative predictive values for suspicious mpMRI lesions. [9],[10] In 189 biopsies performed at UCLA (17% of patients) where no target was identified on mpMRI, 26% had GG 6 disease while 20% harbored GG ≥7. As the adoption of mpMRI of the prostate becomes more prevalent, there has been an unmerited push for imaging to replace biopsy in men on AS. At our institution, a frequent multidisciplinary conference takes place where pathology, radiology, and urology evaluate and discuss all mpMRIs as well as the corresponding whole mount prostatectomy specimens ([Figure 3]) . The improved correlation between preoperative imaging and targeted biopsy is a direct result of this multidisciplinary conference. In patients that have a target lesion, the relationship between the target's pathology and the overall level of suspicion identified on mpMRI is strong. The concordance rate between the highest GG on targeted biopsy and the GG identified on whole mount pathology, the pathology that is found to be upgraded and the pathology that is downgraded, are 82%, 16%, and 2%, respectively ([Figure 4]).
Figure 2: Targeted biopsy using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-ultrasound fusion correlating biopsy histology with MRI grade of suspicion, 5-year period ( a ) and a recent 6-month period ( b ). The recent data ( b ) indicate improved reliability of the grading system versus prior data ( a ). A learning curve is appreciated.

Click here to view
Figure 3: Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging of a left peripheral prostate gland lesion on T2-weighted imaging ( a ), diffusion-weighted imaging ( b ), dynamic contrast-enhanced ( c ), and on whole mount pathology ( d ). Arrow directed toward lesion.

Click here to view
Figure 4: When biopsy is indicated clinically, the absence of a target lesion on multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) should not obviate a systematic mapping biopsy. mpMRI failed to detect 20% of clinically relevant disease.

Click here to view

  Conclusions Top

With every new procedure, technique, or test, adoption rates lag behind unless a clear and safe advantage is evident. With the support of mpMRI, targeted biopsy using MRI-US fusion can improve detection and tracking of a patient's disease while reducing the apprehension of a negative biopsy or being on AS. Even though data show minimal benefit of prostate cancer treatment for low-grade disease and for older patients, many patients fall victim to unnecessary treatment. Technology will no doubt continue to push medicine forward, but with every incremental movement our duty is to evaluate how this will impact the patients. Targeted biopsy using MRI-US fusion increases confidence when placing a patient on AS or moving them toward definitive treatment due to accurate detection and staging, and also facilitates intraoperative planning. This technology will definitely serve as a conduit for targeted therapy and may replace conventional systematic biopsy altogether.

  Editorial Comment-(By Dr John W Davis, Department of Urology, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA) Top

Many years ago, I became interested in MRI as a staging tool for planning robotic prostatectomy. Even with T2 weighted imaging you could practice reading the images yourself and training yourself to select nerve sparing with more information than just biopsy/PSA/clinical staging. However, the study interpretations were largely descriptive and inconsistent in formatting. Essentially you had to interpret report word-smithing such as "possibly suspicious," "suspicious," and "cannot exclude." My challenge to our radiology group was to make the prostate MRI similar to the Bosniak staging for cystic renal masses-on a numeric scale you could objectively communicate that a patient needed no action, follow-up imaging, or surgery. The tricky part of MRI has been coming up with a grading system that is universally validated and accepted. Today, we are much closer to this goal as Dr. Marks' team presents-high grade lesions can be treated with very high suspicion of significant cancer-over 60% in their system. Further validation of grading systems is still needed, and there remains significant barriers in this field in terms of rolling out effective technique across imaging centers, and costs. With the introduction of the multi-parametric technique, and easier access to imaging with reimbursement, patients with elevated PSA and prior negative biopsy or on active surveillance have improved options to characterize their situation better. Two further points deserve emphasis: 1) patients still need systematic biopsies as this paper demonstrates, and 2) placing a multi-parametric MRI in front of a primary biopsy remains a hotly debated topic that will no doubt evolve in the next few years.

  Acknowledgments Top

Work of the authors is supported in part by Award Number R01CA158627 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institute of Health. Additional support was provided by the Beckman Coulter Foundation, the Jean Perkins Foundation and the Steven C. Gordon Family Foundation.

  References Top

Available from: [Last accessed on 2015 Jul 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
Serefoglu EC, Altinova S, Ugras NS, Akincioglu E, Asil E, et al. How reliable is 12-core prostate biopsy procedure in the detection of prostate cancer? Can Urol Assoc J 2012 ; 2012:1-6. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.11224. [Epub ahead of print].  Back to cited text no. 2
Taira AV, Merrick GS, Galbreath RW, Andreini H, Taubenslag W, et al. Performance of transperineal template-guided mapping biopsy in detecting prostate cancer in the initial and repeat biopsy setting. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 2010; 13: 71-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Blomqvist L, Carlsson S, Gjertsson P, Heintz E, Hultcrantz M, et al. Limited evidence for the use of imaging to detect prostate cancer: a systematic review. Eur J Radiol 2014; 83: 1601-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
Hricak H, Williams RD, Spring DB, Moon KL Jr, Hedgcock MW, et al. Anatomy and pathology of the male pelvis by magnetic resonance imaging. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1983; 141: 1101-10.  Back to cited text no. 5
George AK, Pinto PA, Rais-Bahrami S. Multiparametric MRI in the PSA screening era. Biomed Res Int 2014; 2014: 465816.  Back to cited text no. 6
Mozer P, Rouprêt M, Le Cossec C, Granger B, Comperat E, et al. First round of targeted biopsies using magnetic resonance imaging/ultrasonography fusion compared with conventional transrectal ultrasonography-guided biopsies for the diagnosis of localised prostate cancer. BJU Int 2015; 115: 50-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Marks L, Young S, Natarajan S. MRI-ultrasound fusion for guidance of targeted prostate biopsy. Curr Opin Urol 2013; 23: 43-50.  Back to cited text no. 8
Da Rosa MR, Milot L, Sugar L, Vesprini D, Chung H, et al. A prospective comparison of MRI-US fused targeted biopsy versus systematic ultrasound-guided biopsy for detecting clinically significant prostate cancer in patients on active surveillance. J Magn Reson Imaging 2015; 41: 220-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
Hong CW, Walton-Diaz A, Rais-Bahrami S, Hoang AN, Türkbey B, et al. Imaging and pathology findings after an initial negative MRI-US fusion-guided and 12-core extended sextant prostate biopsy session. Diagn Interv Radiol 2014; 20: 234-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
Wysock JS, Rosenkrantz AB, Huang WC, Stifelman MD, Lepor H, et al. A prospective, blinded comparison of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-ultrasound fusion and visual estimation in the performance of MR-targeted prostate biopsy: the PROFUS trial. Eur Urol 2014; 66: 343-51.  Back to cited text no. 11
Wilt TJ, Brawer MK, Jones KM, Barry MJ, Aronson WJ, et al. Radical prostatectomy versus observation for localized prostate cancer. N Engl J Med 2012; 367: 203-13.  Back to cited text no. 12
Bill-Axelson A, Holmberg L, Garmo H, Rider JR, Taari K, et al. Radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting in early prostate cancer. N Engl J Med 2014; 370: 932-42.  Back to cited text no. 13
Hu JC, Chang E, Natarajan S, Margolis DJ, Macairan M, et al. Targeted prostate biopsy in select men for active surveillance: do the Epstein criteria still apply? J Urol 2014; 192: 385-90.  Back to cited text no. 14
Nepple KG, Rosevear HM, Stolpen AH, Brown JA, Williams RD. Concordance of preoperative prostate endorectal MRI with subsequent prostatectomy specimen in high-risk prostate cancer patients. Urol Oncol 2013; 31: 601-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
Largeron JP, Galonnier F, Védrine N, Alfidja A, Boyer L, et al. Multiparametric 3T MRI in the routine staging of prostate cancer. Prog Urol 2014; 24: 145-53.  Back to cited text no. 16
McClure TD, Margolis DJ, Reiter RE, Sayre JW, Thomas MA, et al. Use of MR imaging to determine preservation of the neurovascular bundles at robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. Radiology 2012; 262: 874-83.  Back to cited text no. 17
Belas O, Hupertan V, Comperat E, Renard-Penna R, Mozer P, et al. Low accuracy of routine ultrasound-guided systematic 12-core biopsies in prostate tumor mapping. Can J Urol 2012; 19: 6366-72.  Back to cited text no. 18


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

This article has been cited by
1 A Tubular Dual-Roller Bending Mechanism Toward Robotic Transurethral Prostate Biopsy
Xiao Xiao,Changsheng Li,Xiaoyi Gu,Yusheng Yan,Yifan Wu,Qinghui Wu,Edmund Chiong,Hongliang Ren
IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. 2021; 26(5): 2483
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Impact of Direct MRI-Guided Biopsy of the Prostate on Clinical Management
Nicholas P. Meermeier,Bryan R. Foster,Jen-Jane Liu,Christopher L. Amling,Fergus V. Coakley
American Journal of Roentgenology. 2019; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Dominant intraprostatic cancer confirmed by direct MRI-guided biopsy: Concordance with histopathological findings
Nicholas P. Meermeier,Kevin R. Turner,Bryan R. Foster,Csanád Várallyay,Jen-Jane Liu,Fergus V. Coakley
Clinical Imaging. 2018; 51: 273
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Anatomic and Molecular Imaging in Prostate Cancer
Eric T. Miller,Amirali Salmasi,Robert E. Reiter
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. 2018; 8(3): a030619
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Editorial Commen...
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded1288    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 4    

Recommend this journal