The Clinical Consensus that we funded among radiologists, radiographers, urologists and medical and clinical oncologists with extensive experience in mpMRI before biopsy aims to ensure that men experience the same high-quality approach to mpMRI before biopsy no matter where in the UK they live.
Published in 2018, it built on the consensus undertaken in 2013 to outline:
- how mpMRI scans should be undertaken and reported;
- the criteria needed to rule some men out of a biopsy and;
- the best practice management of these men in primary care.
Its aim was to ensure that the technique can be applied consistently across the UK and it has achieved this by helping to inform the mpMRI before biopsy recommendations that NICE made in its recently updated Guidelines for Prostate Cancer NG 131.
Addressing capacity issues
We know that Trusts and Health Boards are struggling with enough radiologists and scanners to keep pace with demand.
To support Trusts and Health Boards to estimate future prostate cancer diagnostic demand, Prostate Cancer UK has developed a ‘Diagnostic Demand Model’ which enables users to estimate future diagnostic radiology services need for prostate cancer over the next 10 years and use this to produce a business case for additional MRI scanning capacity, including additional MRI scanners.
The model allows users to project the numbers of patients who will enter the prostate cancer diagnostic pathway up to 2030 to enable estimates of future diagnostic resource demand. Users can change parameters to reflect local practice including PSA referral values, MRI quality and MRI scan time.
Use our diagnostic demand model.
High-quality mpMRI or multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) scans are critical to making sure that mpMRI before biopsy delivers the best outcomes for men, especially when some of these are men could be ruled out of an immediate biopsy because of these images. But achieving high-quality images requires MRI scanners to be optimised, sometimes in ways that expand on the pre-set scanner protocols. With several MRI makes, models and different magnetic field strengths in use across the UK, it can be challenging to achieve the right level of optimisation to get the highest-quality images.
This is why we’ve joined forces with the Society of Radiographers, who have developed a set of scanner protocols that can guide radiographers to calibrate and optimise their specific MRI scanner for use in prostate MRI before biopsy. There may be additional protocol tweaks required – and radiographers should always look to test the quality of the images their MRI scanner produces with expert centres and physicists - but for any radiographers newly adopting mpMRI before biopsy, these protocols provide a good starting point for the high-quality images they’ll need.
High quality MR images are crucial to help doctors diagnose and manage men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer. The protocol strives to provide some consensus on the need for small field of view T2 images, diffusion weighted imaging and dynamic contrast enhanced T1 images of the prostate in light of the recent UK consensus document that has been published.
An audit of mpMRI scans was undertaken across the South West of England. Read the results here.
In 2018, we launched an e-learning module to support radiologists to get to grips with the basics of mpMRI before biopsy. We have also worked in collaboration with the Royal College of Radiologists to create several one-day workshops in 2018 and 2019, which were over-subscribed. We have funded training via the British Society for Urogenital Radiology and also funded a one-day mpMRI before biopsy training workshop at the National Imaging Academy in Wales.
Local Expert Centre Training
In 2018, we started to pilot a new approach to training radiologists in reading and interpreting mpMRI scans.
We identified five centres with expertise in mpMRI across the East of England Cancer Alliance and invited them to deliver training to radiologists across the same patch who were relatively new to the technique. They became our expert centres and the radiologists being trained, our participants.
Each participant had 3 training sessions lasting 4 hours. These took place across two different expert centres. As part of the training, the radiologists also completed our e-learning module and before and after tests of their knowledge and skills. Several participants requested additional sessions. They have also been able to establish a mentorship relationship with the expert radiologists, which enables them to get support for challenging cases and to continue to build their confidence in reporting mpMRI scans.
The pilot is currently under evaluation and results from it will be published in Autumn. In the meantime, we have requests from other areas keen to emulate this approach.
We are investing in the creation of a digital platform that will enable radiologists to compare their reporting results with more experienced radiologists. This means that radiologists new to mpMRI before biopsy will be able to interpret and report a bank of validated practice cases to see how their conclusions compare to radiologists who have been practising mpMRI before biopsy for a long time.
This system is currently under development and is being built and designed by RAIQC.
In November 2019, we held a consensus meeting to establish whether an accreditation programme for radiologists reporting mpMRI was a good idea and, if agreed to, how it could work. A paper outlining the results of this meeting will publish later in 2020.