March 25, 2008 – MRI findings may be able to calculate the chance of cancer returning or spreading after treatment in patients about to partake in radiation therapy for prostate cancer, according to a new study published in the April issue of the journal Radiology.
The study was conducted to determine if MRI findings before radiation therapy may indicate a possible recurrence and spread. Researchers retrospectively reviewed the MR images of 80 men with prostate cancer who had undergone MRI of the prostate prior to external beam radiation therapy. Details of tumor characteristics, treatment and outcome were recorded.
“This is the first study to show that MRI detection and measurement of the spread of prostate cancer outside the capsule of the prostate is an important factor in determining outcome for men scheduled to undergo radiation therapy,” said study co-author Fergus V. Coakley, M.D., professor of radiology and urology, vice chair for clinical services and section chief of abdominal imaging in the Department of Radiology at University of California, San Francisco.
Using a technique that correlates the relationship between survival of a patient and several contributing variables, Cox regression analysis, researchers found that the presence and degree of extracapsular extension (spread of cancer beyond the membrane that surrounds the prostate gland) viewed on the pre-treatment MR images was an important predictor of post-treatment recurrence and spread. Patients with extracapsular extension over than 5 millimeters were more likely to experience recurrence and spread of their cancers.
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