Head-to-head Comparison of Transrectal Ultrasound-guided Prostate Biopsy Versus Multiparametric Prostate Resonance Imaging with Subsequent Magnetic Resonance-guided Biopsy in Biopsy-naïve Men with Elevated Prostate-specific Antigen: A Large Prospective Multicenter Clinical Study

Eur Urol. 2019 Apr;75(4):570-578. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2018.11.023. Epub 2018 Nov 23.


Background: There is growing interest to implement multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) and MR-guided biopsy (MRGB) for biopsy-naïve men with suspected prostate cancer.

Objective: Primary objective was to compare and evaluate an MRI pathway and a transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy (TRUSGB) pathway in biopsy-naïve men with prostate-specific antigen levels of ≥3ng/ml.

Design, setting, and population: A prospective, multicenter, powered, comparative effectiveness study included 626 biopsy-naïve patients (from February 2015 to February 2018).

Intervention: All patients underwent prebiopsy mpMRI followed by systematic TRUSGB. Men with suspicious lesions on mpMRI also underwent MRGB prior to TRUSGB. MRGB was performed using the in-bore approach.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Clinically significant prostate cancer (csPCa) was defined as grade group ≥2 (Gleason score ≥3+4) in any core. The main secondary objectives were the number of men who could avoid biopsy after nonsuspicious mpMRI, the number of biopsy cores taken, and oncologic follow-up. Differences in proportions were tested using McNemar's test with adjusted Wald confidence intervals for differences of proportions with matched pairs.

Results and limitations: The MRI pathway detected csPCa in 159/626 (25%) patients and insignificant prostate cancer (insignPCa) in 88/626 patients (14%). TRUSGB detected csPCa in 146/626 patients (23%) and insignPCa in 155/626 patients (25%). Relative sensitivity of the MRI pathway versus the TRUSGB pathway was 1.09 for csPCa (p=0.17) and 0.57 for insignPCa (p<0.0001). The total number of biopsy cores reduced from 7512 to 849 (-89%). The MRI pathway enabled biopsy avoidance in 309/626 (49%) patients due to nonsuspicious mpMRI. Immediate TRUSGB detected csPCa in only 3% (10/309) of these patients, increasing to 4% (13/309) with 1-yr follow-up. At the same time, TRUSGB would overdetect insignPCa in 20% (63/309). "Focal saturation" by four additional perilesional cores to MRGB improved the detection of csPCa in 21/317 (7%) patients. Compared with the literature, our proportion of nonsuspicious mpMRI cases is significantly higher (27-36% vs 49%) and that of equivocal cases is lower (15-28% vs 6%). This is probably due to the high-quality standard in this study. Therefore, a limitation is the duplication of these results in less experienced centers.

Conclusions: In biopsy-naïve men, the MRI pathway compared with the TRUSGB pathway results in an identical detection rate of csPCa, with significantly fewer insignPCa cases. In this high-quality standard study, almost half of men have nonsuspicious MRI, which is higher compared with other studies. Not performing TRUS biopsy is at the cost of missing csPCa only in 4%.

Patient summary: We compared magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with MRI-guided biopsy against standard transrectal ultrasound biopsy for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in biopsy-naïve men. Our results show that patients can benefit from MRI because biopsy may be omitted in half of men, and fewer indolent cancers are detected, without compromising the detection of harmful disease. Men also need fewer needles to make a diagnosis.

Keywords: Magnetic resonance-guided biopsy; Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging; Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System; Prostate cancer; Transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / methods*
  • Kallikreins / blood*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Interventional*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Netherlands
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Kallikreins
  • kallikrein-related peptidase 3, human
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Associated data

  • NTR/NTR5555