Documenting the location of prostate biopsies with image fusion


  • B. T. and S. X. contributed equally to this work

Peter L. Choyke, Molecular Imaging Program, National Cancer Institute, 10 Center Dr, MSC 1182, Bldg 10, Room 1B40, Bethesda, MD 20892-1088, USA.


Study Type – Diagnostic (exploratory cohort)
Level of Evidence 2b

What’s known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Currently, systematic prostate biopsies are obtained with minimal information about their actual location.

This study demonstrates that a electromagnetically tracked ultrasound probe can be used to guide biopsies into specific areas of the prostate. By registering the ultrasound to an MRI scan of the prostate, obtained prior to biopsy, it is possible to accurately map the location of biopsies. Thus, if a patient requires a repeat biopsy, or there is a question about whether a specific area of the prostate was sampled, this system can be used to more accurately guide biopsies in the future.

OBJECTIVE To develop a system that documents the location of transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS)-guided prostate biopsies by fusing them to MRI scans obtained prior to biopsy, as the actual location of prostate biopsies is rarely known.

PATIENTS AND METHODS Fifty patients (median age 61) with a median prostate-specific antigen (PSA) of 5.8 ng/ml underwent 3T endorectal coil MRI prior to biopsy. 3D TRUS images were obtained just prior to standard TRUS-guided 12-core sextant biopsies wherein an electromagnetic positioning device was attached to the needle guide and TRUS probe in order to track the position of each needle pass. The 3D-TRUS image documenting the location of each biopsy was fused electronically to the T2-weighted MRI. Each biopsy needle track was marked on the TRUS images and these were then transposed onto the MRI. Each biopsy site was classified pathologically as positive or negative for cancer and the Gleason score was determined.

RESULTS The location of all (n= 605) needle biopsy tracks was successfully documented on the T2-weighted (T2W) MRI. Among 50 patients, 20 had 56 positive cores. At the sites of biopsy, T2W signal was considered ‘positive’ for cancer (i.e. low in signal intensity) in 34 of 56 sites.

CONCLUSION It is feasible to document the location of TRUS-guided prostate biopsies on pre-procedure MRI by fusing the pre-procedure TRUS to an endorectal coil MRI using electromagnetic needle tracking. This procedure may be useful in documenting the location of prior biopsies, improving quality control and thereby avoiding under-sampling of the prostate as well as directing subsequent biopsies to regions of the prostate not previously sampled.