Tag Archive for: prostate biopsy


Video: Transperineal prostate biopsy: how good is the tumour detection rate?

Outcomes of transperineal template-guided prostate biopsy in 409 patients

James L. Symons*, Andrew Huo*, Carlo L. Yuen‡§, Anne-Maree Haynes*, Jayne Matthews, Robert L. Sutherland*, Phillip Brenner‡§ and Phillip D. Stricker†‡§

*Cancer Research Programme, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, St Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Centre, Department of Urology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, and §Department of Urology, St. Vincent’s Clinic, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia


• To present the template-guided transperineal prostate biopsy (TPB) outcomes for patients of two urologists from a single institution.


• We conducted a prospective study of 409 consecutive men who underwent TPB between December 2006 and June 2008 in a tertiary referral centre using a standardized 14-region technique.

• The procedure was performed as day surgery under general anaesthesia with fluoroquinolone antibiotic cover.

• Follow-up took place within 2 weeks, during which time men were interviewed using a standardized template.

• Results were compared with those of the Australian national prostate biopsy audits performed by the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ).


• Indications for biopsy included elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level (75%), with a median PSA level of 6.5 ng/mL, abnormal digital rectal examination (8%) and active surveillance (AS) re-staging (18%).

• The mean patient age was 63 years and two-thirds of patients were undergoing their first biopsy.

• A positive biopsy was found in 232 men, 74% of whom had a Gleason score of ≥7. The overall cancer detection rate was 56.7% (USANZ 2005 national audit = 56.5%). Stratified between those having their first TPB or a repeat procedure (after a previous negative biopsy), the detection rates were 64.4 and 35.6%, respectively. Significantly higher detection rates were found in prostates <50 mL in volume than in larger prostates (65.2 vs 38.3%, respectively, P < 0.001).

• Haematuria was the most common side effect (51.7%). Others included dysuria (16.4%), acute urinary retention (4.2%) and fever (3.2%). One patient (0.2%) had septicaemia requiring i.v. antibiotics.

• Repeat biopsy was not associated with increased complication rates.


• TPB is a safe and efficacious technique, with a cancer detection rate of 56.7% in the present series, and a low incidence of major side effects. Stratified by prostate volume, the detection rate of TPB was higher in smaller glands.

• Given the relatively low rate of serious complications, clinicians could consider increasing the number of TPB biopsy cores in larger prostates as a strategy to improve cancer detection within this group. Conversely, in patients on AS programmes, a staging TPB may be a superior approach for patients undergoing repeat biopsy so as to minimize their risk of serious infection.

Article of the week: Radiation-recurrent prostate cancers are often multifocal

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

This week, we feature two Articles of the Week.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

The final post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video by Dr. de Castro Abreu and colleagues.

Accuracy of post-radiotherapy biopsy before salvage radical prostatectomy

Joshua J. Meeks, Marc Walker*, Melanie Bernstein, Matthew Kent and James A. Eastham

Urology Service, Department of Surgery and Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, and *Department of Surgery, Urology Service, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI, USA

Supported by the Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers.

Read the full article

• To determine whether post-radiotherapy (RT) biopsy (PRB) adequately predicts the presence, location, and histological features of cancer in the salvage radical prostatectomy (SRP) specimen. Before salvage treatment, a PRB is required to confirm the presence of locally recurrent or persistent cancer and to determine the extent and location of the prostate cancer.


• SRP was performed between 1998 and 2011 on 198 patients.

• All patients underwent a PRB. PRB and SRP specimens were evaluated by a genitourinary pathologist. Patients had external-beam RT alone (EBRT; 71%) or brachytherapy with or without EBRT (29%).


• Of the men undergoing SRP, 26 (14%) were clinical stage ≥T3, with 13% of PRBs with Gleason score ≥8.

• Cancer was unilateral in 120 (61%) biopsies, with contralateral or bilateral prostate cancer at SRP in 49%. In the SRP specimen, cancer was multifocal in 57%.

• Cancer was upgraded at SRP in 58% of men, with 20% having an increase in primary Gleason grade.

• The accuracy of PRB varied by region from 62% to 76%, with undetected cancers ranging from 12% to 26% and most likely to occur at the mid-gland.


• Radiation-recurrent prostate cancers were often multifocal, and biopsy missed up to 20% of tumours.

• More than half of the cancers were upgraded at SRP, and many that were unilateral on PRB were bilateral at SRP.


Read Previous Articles of the Week


Editorial: Salvaging failed radiation therapy: does the tumour location permit a less toxic approach?

In the introduction to their manuscript in this issue of the BJUI, Meeks et al. outline a significant challenge for physicians managing prostate cancer: from the estimated 240 000 diagnosed annually (USA) to the 120 000 choosing radiation, to the 40 000 estimated biochemical failures in the first 5 years who may benefit from additional local therapy to avoid local and/or systemic progression. The basis of these calculations was from conventional beam radiation, and although we expect dose-escalation strategies to perform better, the ideal management strategy remains to be identified. Indeed, Zelefsky et al. showed that there was a higher risk of metastatic disease with external beam radiation therapy than with surgery for high-risk prostate cancer, although there was some confounding of the results due to the differences in salvage treatment. This confounding may be the key point: more acceptable salvage options may promote optimal local control and fewer progressions.

Certainly, the concern with salvage therapy after failed radiation is the toxicity, and the concept of achieving less urinary incontinence with cryotherapy or even focal cyrotherapy is attractive, as outlined by de Castro Abreu et al. in this issue. In their parallel cohorts of total and focal salvage cryotherapy, urinary incontinence occurred in three (13%) of the 25 salvage total and zero of the 25 salvage focal therapies, and there was only one fistula in either series. However, the cancer control outcomes are different among these non-randomised and non-comparable cohorts: 87% disease-free survival for patients with bilateral disease treated with total cryotherapy and 54% disease-free survival for patients with unilateral disease treated with focal cryotherapy. These comparisons are limited, but one could hypothesise that salvage total therapy has improved disease control over salvage focal therapy.

Returning to the Meeks et al. study, a cohort of 198 patients with biopsy confirmed radiation recurrence underwent a salvage prostatectomy at a single institution. Pre-treatment biopsies showed 48% and 13% Gleason sums 7 and 8–10, respectively, and multifocal location in 61% (92/151 patients). Salvage prostatectomies showed 56% advanced pathological stage and 35% Gleason 8–10, and multifocal location in 57%. In comparing specific biopsy locations to radical prostatectomy mapping, undetected cancers from biopsy ranged from 12% to 26%, and 58% upgrading. In patients with unilaterally localised biopsies, final pathology was unilateral in only half – a statistic that matches the PSA failure rate from focal therapy in the de Castro Abreu et al.’s study. The authors point to a non-radiated biopsy-to-prostatectomy study and by comparison conclude that the accuracy of biopsy in radiated prostates is actually greater, perhaps due to the smaller radiated gland. But let’s be clear – both groups had significant rates of multifocal disease and inaccuracies between biopsy and radical prostatectomy.

These two BJUI studies provide a developing agenda of what we know and do not know about salvage therapy for failed radiation:

  • Local failure after radiation selects patients who probably have significant disease in terms of volume, stage, and grade, and should not be confused with the over-detection of low-volume, low-grade disease seen in primary treatments for PSA-screened disease.
  • Salvage focal therapy for unilateral disease by biopsy may be less morbid but may be only 50% effective.
  • The link between metastatic progression and PSA failure after failed salvage focal therapy is unknown, and completion treatment of the other side could be studied.
  • The additive accuracy of post-radiation biopsy plus imaging is not established.
  • We are basing most of our treatment recommendations on tumour morphology (histopathology, location, size) and surrogates (PSA failure definitions) rather than biology and survival.
  • The current management of post-radiation local failure should consider total gland treatments as the standard and focal therapies as experimental.

John W. Davis and Seungtaek Choi*
Departments of Urology and *Radiation Oncology, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Article by Meeks et al.
Article by de Castro Abreu et al.

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