MULTIPROS: using imaging to improve prostate cancer diagnosis

What you need to know

  • In recent years there have been developments in techniques to help accurately diagnose aggressive prostate cancer. This has resulted in more men’s cancers being caught before it’s too late, and fewer men having to undergo unnecessary biopsies.
  • Professor Nabi wants to test two of these imaging techniques, called mpMRI and image-fusion guided biopsy, in a randomized controlled clinical trial to see if they can improve prostate cancer diagnosis further.
  • He hopes his research will add to existing evidence that imaging can be used to make prostate cancer diagnosis more accurate, and so help show that these techniques should be made widely available across the UK.
There have been significant advances in imaging methods for prostate cancer over the past decade. In this project, we’re assessing the usefulness of these advances to diagnose aggressive prostate cancer and reduce the number of biopsies needed for this.
Professor Nabi, Chief investigator of MULTIPROS

What they want to find out

Multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) is a newly developed type of imaging technology which can produce a more detailed picture of the prostate than a standard MRI scan. Following a series of studies, including one funded by us, it was shown that mpMRI could be used to spot aggressive prostate cancers and guide biopsies to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer. We’ve since campaigned for this technology to become widely available in the UK so more men can have access to improved technology for diagnosing prostate cancer.

But mpMRI still has a way to go. Professor Nabi and his team at the University of Dundee want to help this technology reach more men, across the UK and internationally. He also wants to test whether another imaging technique, called image-fusion guided biopsy could improve prostate cancer diagnosis. To do this, he’s running a randomised controlled clinical trial, a type of study that is known in the research community to produce the strongest evidence.

Professor Nabi and his team hope that the findings of their trial will add to the existing evidence for using mpMRI before biopsy, and using image-fusion to guide biopsy, to improve in prostate cancer for more men.

How they’re going about it

The project will involve two kinds of research study.

For the first study, the team will compare previously collected mpMRI data with analysis of prostates samples  following a radical prostatectomy. This will tell the team how reliable mpMRI was at predicting which prostates were likely to develop prostate cancer and therefore needed surgically removing.

For the second study, the team will recruit men who are thought to be at risk of prostate cancer, and so require a biopsy of their prostate. All the men will undergo an mpMRI scan of their prostate, and if there is any sign of cancer, men will be randomly assigned to either to a routine prostate biopsy or an image-fusion guided biopsy. This will tell them whether the image-fusion technique can improve the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis.

Progress so far

The team have recruited half of the men they’re aiming to recruit. They’re starting to check the quality of the data they’ve collected so they can begin analysis on it.

How to get involved with this trial

This trial is still looking for men to take part. You can read the information below to see if you may be suitable to take part in this study, and contact your medical team for full details on whether you can take part.

If you’d like support with deciding whether taking part in a clinical trial is right for you, you can speak to your medical team or contact our Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383.

Who can take part

You may be eligible to take part in this study if you:

  • Are between the age of 40-75 at referral
  • Have clinically localised PCa: PSA ≤20 ng/ml AND/OR abnormal DRE examination but < T3 disease
  • Are able to give informed consent

Who can’t take part

You would not be eligible to take part if you have:

  • Had prior prostatic biopsy within 12 months
  • Poor general health and life expectancy < 10 years
  • Previous diagnosis of acute prostatitis within 12 months
  • History of prostate cancer
  • Prior transurethral prostatectomy
  • Contraindications to MRI including; cardiac pacemakers, allergic reaction to gadolinium based contrast, renal failure, intracranial clips, claustrophobia (applicable to participants who do not receive MRI as part of standard care pathway)
  • Previous hip replacement (applicable to participants who do not receive MRI as part of standard care pathway)

For full inclusion and exclusion criteria speak to your medical team.

Where the trial is taking place

  • Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen
  • Royal Free Hospital, London
  • Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK

We try to keep this information as up to date as possible, but there may be times when study details have changed and we haven’t updated our web information. Speak to your medical team, or our Specialist Nurses, for the most up to date information on prostate cancer clinical studies.

Grant information

Researcher - Mr Ghulam Nabi
Institution - University of Dundee
Grant award - £499,936
Duration - 2014-2019
Reference - CSO-PG13-005 Nabi