UT Health San Antonio study shows MRI technique improves detection of aggressive prostate cancer

The imaging center at UT Health Hill Country has state-of-the-art equipment.

An MRI scan called restriction spectrum imaging greatly improves the detection of prostate cancer progression, according to a published study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, also known as UT Health San Antonio.

This means that by detecting changes in the condition of prostate cancer patients more accurately, physicians can move ahead quicker with potentially life-saving treatment.

The technique, called RSI-MRI, improves the pictures produced from more traditional scanning to reveal biological features, or biomarkers, showing changing conditions of existing prostate cancer patients. The researchers enrolled 123 patients for the study from January 2016 to June 2019.

“We found that the RSI-MRI scan provides a more sophisticated analysis and a more sensitive and specific imaging biomarker of aggressive prostate cancer,” said Michael A. Liss, MD, MAS, FACS, a urology oncology physician at the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, and study senior author.

The study, “Restriction Spectrum Imaging-Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Improve Prostate Cancer Imaging in Men on Active Surveillance,” was published in July in The Journal of Urology. Dr. Liss also authored a report on the study in a newsmagazine of the American Urological Association.

Currently, RSI-MRI scanning is being provided at UT Health San Antonio clinical locations including the Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC) at 8300 Floyd Curl Dr., and UT Health Hill Country near Boerne at 25723 Old Fredericksburg Road.

The researchers developed a targeted, short-duration RSI-MRI scan of less than five minutes that can be added to standard multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging, or mpMRI, for more specific results. The mpMRI has been more effective in diagnosing prostate cancer than in detecting changes in existing patients.

The study participants on “active surveillance,” or observation, underwent both mpMRI and RSI-MRI scanning reviewed by a urological radiologist for lesions, followed by an MRI-guided prostate biopsy by a urologist.

The RSI-MRI analysis generated biomarkers called restricted signal map (RSM) values, which were then compared with more traditional measures, for detection of worsening grades of prostate cancer. That analysis revealed better accuracy, including a higher level of true-positive lesions and fewer false-positives.

Generally, MRI-detected lesions that are inflammatory without cancer have significantly lower RSM values than lesions with cancer.

“The findings show that using a simple acquisition technique of measuring and storing data can substantially enhance MRI,” Dr. Liss said. “Also important is that RSI-MRI acquisition does not need hardware or contrast material and can be deployed within the current MRI workflow.”

For an appointment, men monitoring their cancer may contact the UT Health San Antonio urology clinic at 210-450-9000, or online at https://www.uthscsa.edu/patient-care/physicians/clinics/urology.

Restriction Spectrum Imaging-Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Improve Prostate Cancer Imaging in Men on Active Surveillance

Benjamin D. Besasie, Abhijit G. Sunnapwar, Feng Gao, Dean Troyer, Geoffrey D. Clarke, Hugh White, Peter T. Fox, Anders Dale, Allison Wheeler and Michael A. Liss

First published: July 2021, The Journal of Urology

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