Improving prostate cancer detection with an extended-core transrectal ultrasonography-guided prostate biopsy protocol



Objective To investigate whether taking two transition zone (TZ) and four lateral peripheral zone (PZ) biopsies in addition to routine parasaggital sextant biopsies would improve detection rates in men with suspected prostate cancer.

Patients and methods The study included 493 consecutive men (mean age 68.7 years, sd 8.2) with elevated serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and/or abnormal findings on a digital rectal examination who underwent transrectal ultrasonography-guided prostate biopsy. In addition to sextant biopsies, six further biopsies were obtained, two from the TZ (mid-gland) and four from the lateral PZ (base and mid-gland). Pathological findings for the additional biopsies were compared with those of the sextant regions.

Results Prostatic adenocarcinoma was diagnosed in 164 of the 493 (33%) men biopsied. Men with cancer were older, had smaller prostates and higher median PSA levels than men with negative biopsies. Sextant biopsies were positive for cancer in 133 of 164 (81%) men. All three sets of biopsies were positive in 53 (32%) cases. In 50 (30%) men both the sextant and lateral PZ biopsies were positive, while in six (4%) men, both sextant and TZ biopsies were positive. Thirty-one (19%) tumours were not detected by sextant biopsies, 10 (6%) where the lateral PZ biopsies alone were positive, 17 (10%) where the TZ biopsies alone were positive and four (3%) where both the TZ and lateral PZ together were positive. There were no differences in median PSA concentration, total prostate volume or TZ volume between men with an isolated TZ cancer and men with cancer elsewhere in the prostate. However, 77% of men with TZ cancer had a PSA of > 10 ng/mL, compared with 60% of men with cancer at other sites within the prostate (P = 0.015).

Conclusion An extended-core biopsy protocol significantly improves the detection rate for prostate cancer when compared with the standard sextant biopsy protocol alone. Routine TZ biopsies should be considered for men with serum PSA levels of >10 ng/mL.