Stephen E. Strup, MD

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Imaging Prostate Cancer: Current and Future Applications

March 1st 2001

Various treatment options are available for adenocarcinoma of the prostate-the most common malignant neoplasm among men in the United States. To select an optimum management strategy, we must be able to identify an organ-confined disease (in which local therapy such as surgery or radiation may be beneficial) vs prostate cancer beyond the confines of the gland (for which other treatment approaches may be more appropriate). At present, no standard imaging modality can by itself reliably diagnose and/or stage adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Standard transrectal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography, bone scans, and plain x-ray are not sufficiently reliable when used alone. Fortunately, advances in imaging technology have led to the development of several promising modalities. These modalities include color and power Doppler ultrasonography, ultrasound contrast agents, intermittent and harmonic ultrasound imaging, MR contrast imaging, MRI with fat suppression, MRI spectroscopy, three-dimensional MRI spectroscopy, elastography, and radioimmunoscintigraphy. These newer imaging techniques appear to improve the yield of prostate cancer detection and staging, but are limited in availability and thus require further validation. This article reviews the status of current imaging modalities for prostate cancer and identifies emerging imaging technologies that may improve the diagnosis and staging of this disease. [ONCOLOGY 15(3):325-342, 2001]