Role of Changes in Magnetic Resonance Imaging or Clinical Stage in Evaluation of Disease Progression for Men with Prostate Cancer on Active Surveillance.


Active surveillance (AS) protocols rely on rectal examination, prostate-specific antigen, imaging, and biopsy to identify disease progression.

To evaluate whether an AS regimen based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or clinical stage changes can detect reclassification to grade group (GG) ≥2 disease compared with scheduled systematic biopsies.

We identified a cohort of men initiated on AS between January 2013 and April 2016 at a single tertiary-care center. Patients completed confirmatory testing and prostate MRI prior to enrollment, then underwent laboratory and physical evaluation every 6 mo, MRI every 18 mo, and biopsy every 3yr.

MRI results were evaluated using composite Likert/Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System v2 scoring. MRI and clinical changes were assessed for association with disease progression. Univariable and multivariable regression models were used to predict upgrading on 3-yr biopsy.

At 3yr, of 207 men, 66 (32%) had≥GG2 at biopsy: 55 (83%) with GG2, 10 (15%) with GG3, and one (1.5%) with GG4. Among patients with a 3-yr MRI score of ≥3, 41% had≥GG2 disease, compared with 15% with an MRI score of <3 (p=0.0002). The MRI score increased in 48 men (23%), decreased in 27 (13%), and was unchanged in 132 (64%) men. Increases in MRI score were not associated with reclassification after adjusting for the 3-yr MRI score (p=0.9). Biopsying only for an increased MRI score or clinical stage would avoid 681 biopsies per 1000 men, at the cost of missing ≥GG2 disease in 169 patients.

An AS strategy that uses MRI or clinical changes to trigger prostate biopsy avoids many biopsies but misses an unacceptable amount of clinically significant disease. Prostate biopsy for men on AS should be performed at scheduled intervals, regardless of stable imaging or examination findings.

An active surveillance strategy for biopsy based only on increases in magnetic resonance imaging score or clinical stage will avoid many biopsies; however, it will miss many patients with clinically significant prostate cancer.

  • Benfante N
  • Chesnut GT
  • Eastham J
  • Ehdaie B
  • Fainberg J
  • Laudone V
  • Lee T
  • Scardino P
  • Sjoberg DD
  • Touijer K
  • Vertosick EA
  • Vickers A
PubMed ID
Appears In
Eur Urol, 2020, 77 (4)